Accra, GHANA – On September 5, 2019, the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana signed a Declaration of Partnership at the African Green Revolution Forum hosted in Accra. The Declaration launches a five-year Feed the Future Country Plan for Ghana that will increase investments in agriculture, build greater resilience, and improve household nutrition.
Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, bringing together investments from 11 U.S. Government agencies to help accelerate Ghana’s journey to self-reliance through agriculture, trade, and policy reforms. Through the Declaration, the two nations aligned their priorities for investments in food security, trade, and nutrition in Ghana, in the Northern, North East, Upper East, and Upper West regions, and in coastal fishing zones.
The new Country Plan provides a blueprint to accelerate agriculture-led growth. It also strengthens resilience to better cope with drought and other disasters and supports a well-nourished population, especially women and children. The plan identifies opportunities to leverage private sector investment, expand research in agricultural technology, and increase economic growth.
“The Declaration of Partnership aligns with the USAID philosophy of assisting partner countries on their respective journeys to self-reliance. In partnership, we commit to engage the private sector, research and scientific community, and civil society to strengthen the enabling environment to accelerate broad-based, sustainable and inclusive economic growth for a wealthier Ghana,” said U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan. The Honorable Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu-Boahen, represented the Government of Ghana at the event and said, “It is our belief that this initiative will reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty among the Ghanaian people.”
The initial phase of Feed the Future began operating in Ghana in 2010 and has reduced poverty and stunting in northern Ghana. The 2015 Zone of Influence population-based survey revealed a 12 percent decrease in poverty from 2012 to 2015 and a 17 percent decrease in stunting. Feed the Future activities spurred private sector investment for maize, rice, and soybeans and grew domestic markets by connecting smallholder farmers to markets. Farmers improved their incomes through increased access to finance, mobile technology, fertilizer, and certified seeds. Households benefited from improved nutrition, especially for women of reproductive age and children under five. The new plan will build on these gains and expand Feed the Future’s focus on private sector agricultural investment and trade to accelerate economic growth.
Following the launch, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted an agricultural and food security research event where a diverse set of partners, including government officials, farmers, other agricultural practitioners, and private sector firms discussed how Ghana is uniquely positioned to scale its successes by incorporating digital innovations, research, and technology into the partners’ agriculture investments. The discussion topics ranged from investments in host country data systems to cell phone-based applications that can transform pest management, crop production, and resource management.
Read Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan’s remarks at the Partnership Signing event below.
Remarks for Declaration of Partnership Signing Event
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
September 5, 2019.
Deputy Minister of Finance, the Hon. Charles Adu-Boahen;
Minister of Trade & Industry, the Hon. Alan Kyerematen;
Minister of Food & Agriculture, the Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto;
Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Hon. Cynthia Morrison;
Minister of Health, the Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu;
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, the Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama;
Development partner colleagues;
Members of the media;
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen;
All protocols observed.
I am extremely pleased to be here this afternoon to sign this Declaration of Partnership between Ghana and the United States, recommitting both our countries to the important Feed the Future program, and in particular, rededicating ourselves through the new Global Food Security Strategy to combat hunger, malnutrition, and the other conditions that derive from them.
As the U.S. Government’s flagship agricultural development program, Feed the Future brings together the expertise and investments across 11 U.S. Government agencies to accelerate our partners’ journey to self-reliance through agricultural trade and policy transformation.
We will continue this whole-of-government approach in Ghana in the next phase of Feed the Future, called the Global Food Security Strategy, because our combined efforts and resources are producing results.
Feed the Future has facilitated significant gains in nutrition, resilience, and private sector investment across Ghana, and the next phase promises even greater results.
Just prior to this event, I attended a nutrition discussion led by First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo. One of the highlights of that discussion was how successful Feed the Future has been in partnering with local governments in the North to reduce hunger and malnutrition.
An estimated 75% of the 2.4 million people living in extreme poverty in Ghana live in the North. In 15 districts, Feed the Future doubled the production of leafy green vegetables and introduced bio-fortified crops such as orange flesh sweet potato and fortified maize – all rich sources of Vitamin A – that contribute to much greater diet diversity for children below aged two. Integrating nutrition, water, and agricultural resources for pregnant women and children under two has resulted in a 19 percent reduction in stunted children.
While we invest in nourishing and strengthening people, we must simultaneously invest in their ability to access finance and markets.
It is difficult for smallholder farmers, especially women, to obtain finance. Feed the Future targeted its resilience activities towards access to finance. It successfully expanded village savings and loan associations to enable over 110,000 smallholder farmers, including over 100,000 women, to save over $3 million. The associations issued over $1 million in loans to their members for either purchasing seeds to plant the next crop or buying food for their families during the lean season. Having reliable, accessible finance strengthens household resilience and prevents the stresses created when families backslide into poverty.
Reducing hunger and malnutrition, and building resilience, are important objectives; however, a focus on trade and investment throughout Ghana is essential.
This Declaration of Partnership emphasizes that to accelerate broad-based economic growth, which in turn drives job creation, we must increase trade and investment. A guiding partnership principle of the Declaration is “Engaging the private sector and strengthening the enabling environment to position Ghana to transition from a recipient of U.S. development assistance to a U.S. strategic trading partner.”
A good example of what can be achieved by partnering with the private sector is our experience with Sahel Grains, a local agricultural processor of corn for household and corporate consumption. In this partnership, Feed the Future helped Sahel Grains to increase its domestic cereal processing capacity from 500 tons/year to over 18,000 tons/year.
Feed the Future-supported farmers met Sahel’s food safety requirements for baby food production and are paid a premium price for a consistent supply. This example of market expansion creates a virtuous cycle where the premiums will act as incentives for farmers to adopt improved management practices that transform Ghana’s agriculture.
Our efforts to unlock access to commercial finance over the past five years resulted in nearly 3,000 firms and 169,000 smallholder farmers receiving a collective $168 million of agricultural financing. Smallholder farmers increased their revenue by 15 percent over the past four years. By increasing farmers’ incomes, they can drive their own success and escape from poverty.
These initiatives will also complement other U.S. government initiatives, such as the $300 million loan guarantee agreement between the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Ghana EXIM to support Ghana’s industrialization goals, particularly in the agricultural sector.
Moving to the next phase of Feed the Future, investments in digital technologies can give farmers’ access to critical information for weather and markets as well as new technologies to increase crop yields.
Today’s Declaration of Partnership aligns with the USAID philosophy of assisting partner countries on their respective journeys to self-reliance. In partnership, we commit to engage the private sector, research and scientific community, and civil society to strengthen the enabling environment to accelerate broad-based, sustainable and inclusive economic growth for a wealthier Ghana.
We welcome this partnership and the opportunity to continue to deliver high-quality results for the Ghanaian people. Thank you.