FAO in Ghana

FAO Regional Management Team Meeting 2024: OCOP Success Stories, Agriculture Excellence Across Africa’s Diverse Crops

Panel discussion on the One Country One Priority Product (OCOP)

The much-anticipated FAO Regional Management Team Meeting (RMT) ended in Ghana on the 15th of February 2024. This annual gathering, a pivotal event on the FAO calendar, brings together experts and stakeholders to deliberate on crucial issues in the realm of agriculture.

The overarching theme for this year is "Turning Strategy into Action: Experience Sharing, Lessons Learned, and Insights for Resilient Agrifood Systems and Inclusive Rural Transformation in Africa.

A notable highlight from the first day was a panel discussion on the One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) initiative. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, Deputy Director, NSP Division. Esteemed panellists, including Paulo Dias, Project Manager for Malawi; Benjamin Adjei, AFAOR Ghana; Luis Muhigirwa, Deputy FAOR Lesotho; Jateno Workicho, AFAOR(Programme) Ethiopia; and Yannick Rasoarimanana, FAOR Congo, engaged in discussions revolving around the key achievements of countries participating in OCOP.

Impressively, 85 countries have signed onto OCOP, with 29 of them hailing from Africa. Ghana, aligning with OCOP, has chosen soybeans as its Specialized Agricultural Product (SAP). The country has celebrated achievements such as the training of more than 500 beneficiaries through the Training of Trainers for government officers, farmers, and SMEs, focusing on gender, value chain, nutrition, and food safety. This comprehensive approach integrates soybeans into healthier diets, fostering community empowerment. Through FAO with funding from the Government of Japan, soybean production has been introduced into communities.

Ghana’s achievement on the OCOP is partly attributed to a high-level government commitment, notably from the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ghana. In his submission, the Assistant FAO Representative to Ghana in charge of Programs, Mr Benjamin Adjei, emphasized the strategic engagement of government technical capacities, aligning with FAO's strategic framework of the '4 betters,' particularly focusing on soybean value chain development.

In the case of Malawi, banana is the SAP commodity focusing on developing the banana value chain. The country has successfully enhanced the capacities of farmers within this chain, resulting in reduced banana imports. Since 2017, FAO has been a key partner, providing technical support to revitalize Malawi's banana industry, focusing on integrated crop management and addressing various challenges.

Similarly, Lesotho's OCOP spotlight is on potatoes. Through strategic investments in productivity-enhancing inputs and technologies, potato yields in Lesotho have soared, contributing significantly to household food security, nutrition, and rural employment.

Ethiopia, with TEFF as its OCOP crop, has strengthened local farmers' capacity to produce high-quality teff. The initiative also supports processing and value addition, recognizing teff's indigenous significance in production, consumption, and cash crop value.

As the FAO RMT Meeting progresses, these insightful discussions and success stories under OCOP exemplify the commitment to transforming strategies into tangible actions, creating resilient agrifood systems across Africa.