FAO Regional Office for Africa

National policy dialogue to strengthen forest and farm producer organizations in Ghana

©FAO

4 November 2020, Accra - The Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers (GhaFFaP), with support from FAO, has launched a series of national dialogues to help strengthen its members’ influence on policy and access to finance and markets.

The first in the series of dialogues, held on 24 September 2020, provided an opportunity for forest and farm producer organizations to discuss challenges with the government and partner organizations, as well as identify opportunities and solutions.

“This dialogue is an important platform for farmer networks to engage directly with policy makers,” said Charles Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana. ‘’To achieve greater results for its members, I encourage GhaFFaP to utilize the ‘strong seat at the table strategy’ to advance their stake in very critical advocacy engagements.’’

Participating in the dialogue were representatives from forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) in Ghana, the Ghana Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture, and partners including FAO, the United Nations Resident Coordination Office (UNRCO) in Ghana, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and international non-government organizations.

Victoria Adongo, Chairperson of GhaFFaP and Executive Director of The Peasant Farmers Association in Ghana, underlined that the dialogue would help bridge the gap between policymakers and smallholder farmers, which she described as a “persistent challenge”.

Action plan

Smallholder farmers and producers have recently suffered major setbacks in accessing markets brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and flooding in northern Ghana. These crises have posed challenges for GhaFFaP members to aggregate products to attract bigger buyers.

The dialogue fostered opportunities for GhaFFaP members to explore various government programmes, policies and initiatives, including a USD 600 million COVID-19 national alleviation programme.

‘’I would encourage GhaFFaP and its partners to think differently and strategically on the best initiatives to help its members recover from these types of shocks,” said Rhoda Donkor of the Ghana Forestry Commission. “We fully support GhaFFaP initiatives in addressing these.’’

Opportunities to access finance were also presented, such as tapping into blended financing or using the services of rural and community banks. GhaFFaP members were also informed about policies and programmes that could better link them to markets, such as those offered by the National Buffer Stock Food Company, the Ghana Commodity Exchange and the Livestock Development Policy.

The event concluded with the agreement to develop an action plan with concrete activities for implementation, to be assessed at the next dialogue in March 2021.

Launched in March 2020, GhaFFaP is a national federation of FFPOs that aims to build profitable forest and farm-based businesses. The federation seeks to contribute to shaping national policies that promote climate-resilient landscapes across the savannah, transition and forest ecological zones in Ghana. GhaFFaP currently has 167,737 members, 44 percent of whom are women, representing 11 FFPOs across the country.

GhaFFaP is supported by the Forest and Farm Facility, a partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN and AgriCord, as well as by FAO’s Regional Office for Africa- Poverty Reduction and Economic Inclusion team, and the FAO country office for Ghana.  

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