FAO in Ghana

Programmes in Ghana

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), since the beginning of its Representation in Ghana in 1978 has cooperated with the Government of Ghana, through technical assistance and advice, in implementing programmes and projects in the area of food and agriculture, nutrition and natural resource management. In order to enhance the organization’s response to challenges faced by the country in its mandate areas, the Government of Ghana and FAO jointly decided to review their cooperation framework through the development of a comprehensive Country Programming Framework (CPF, 2018 - 2022), which sets out three priorities and results for FAO’s medium-term assistance to Ghana . The CPF builds on FAO’s comparative advantages, key competencies as well as experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of the CPF 2013–2017 to guide and streamline its interventions to contribute towards the priority areas as provided by the Government in the NMTDPF and the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II, 2007). 

The document was prepared following high-level and wide-ranging consultations; and agreement with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (MLNR), Ministry of Planning, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the UN Country Team (UNCT), non-state actors, and civil society stakeholders.

It recognizes and aligns with the Government’s prioritization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which SDGs 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14 and 15 provide the appropriate context for the achievement of the ultimate goals of the CPESDEP for the agricultural sector. The CPF is equally informed by the Malabo Declaration and the African Union Agenda 2063 for which the National Agricultural Investment Plan for Ghana is aligned. Additionally, the CPF is guided by the FAO Strategic Framework and aligned with the Strategic Programmes as well as Regional Initiatives for Africa namely; Africa’s commitment to end hunger by 2025; Sustainable production, intensification and value chain development in Africa; and building resilience in Africa’s dry lands.



The priority area’s main challenge addresses the sustainable improvement of productivity in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and related services in the context of an increasingly stressed natural resource base due to increased competition for natural resources, spread of transboundary pests and diseases of plants and animals, environmental degradation and climate change. Furthermore, food losses and food waste claim a significant proportion of agricultural output in addition to weak links between agriculture and industry; weak nutrition-sensitive food production systems; and weak food and nutrition security (FNS) institutional framework and coordination.

A strengthened agro-processing sector with strong agriculture-industry linkages is one of the key goals of the Government’s development agenda. Agro-processing is expected to expand produce markets for farmers, increase value addition for agriculture, and create employment (particularly for the youth) in both agriculture and industry. The growing segment of middle-income households is expected to generate opportunities for growth in domestic agro-processing as well as add value to agricultural products and offer opportunities for increased employment. Towards the attainment of a prosperous, food secure and malnutrition free society, FAO will pursue the following outputs:

1.       Strengthened and expanded in target areas of initiatives to raise production and productivity of agriculture are strengthened and expanded in targeted areas;

2.       Strengthened capacities of public and private sector actors to promote inclusive agro-enterprises and value chain development;

3.       Greater capabilities of Government and non-state actors to improve sustainable production and consumption of safe and nutritious foods; and

4.       Increased accessibility Value chain actors have to business and financial services and risk management tools.

Attention will continue to be given to social inclusiveness and to the development of gender-sensitive programmes that focus not only on addressing inequalities, but also to secure and build assets in ways that empower the most vulnerable. Focus will also be placed on promoting policy and institutional change and stimulating nutrition-sensitive investments in the food system and across those sectors that are important for food security and nutrition (such as crop, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, social protection, health and education). Efforts towards leveraging value chain finance for strengthened, increased and more effective agricultural financing will be pursued in collaboration with relevant institutions (such as the Ministry of Finance, et. al.).

Particularly those that reduce existing gender inequalities and empower rural women. Gender-sensitive value chain development will be promoted by disseminating approaches and tools developed for assessing and addressing specific gender-related constraints for women to engage in productive and value-adding activities.

Ghana’s economy, particularly the agriculture sector, depends on the sustainable management and use of natural resources for long-term productivity and profitability. Competition for natural resources has intensified owing to consumption patterns driven mainly by population growth, changing dietary patterns, industrial development, urbanization and climate change. The situation is made worse as illegal mining activities (galamsey) in many regions destroy vast arable lands, and pollute water bodies and ecosystems. Over one-third of the country’s forest cover was lost between 1990 and 2010. Ghana’s fishery resources are heavily over-exploited, and Ghana only produces a fraction of its annual fish requirements, with the sector recording a decline in production over the past couple of years. Factors responsible for the declining trend in the fishing industry in Ghana include, amongst others, unlawful fishing methods and poaching, overfishing and inadequate fisheries management systems, lack of infrastructure and modernization of the industry.

As FAO works towards the sustainable use and responsible governance of natural resources for improvement of agricultural productivity, and a safe and secure environment, strategic interventions will cover the following outputs:

1.       Strengthened capacities of institutions to implement cross-sectoral policies and international instruments that foster sustainable production and address climate change and environmental degradation;

2.       Greater capabilities of smallholder agricultural producers, fishers and foresters to adopt sustainable land, water, fisheries and forestry management practices; and

3.       Better adaptation of smallholder agricultural producers, fishers and foresters to climate change.

To minimise the potential exacerbation of existing gender inequalities because of climate change, FAO will integrate work that are related to gender-responsive natural resource governance, climate-smart agriculture and labour-saving innovations that reduce the burden of women’s work. Capacities of national institutions and non-state actors to mobilize resources will be strengthened. Support will also be provided towards the generation and use of data for decision-making on sustainable production, climate change, and environmental degradation.

Ghana managed to halve extreme poverty from 36.5 to 18.2 percent between 1991 and 2006, and almost halve the proportion of people living below upper poverty line from 51.7 to 28.5 percent over the same period. However, progress was not even across all regions and social segments, particularly for the three northern regions and food crop farmers. The incidence of poverty was observed to be highest among households headed by food-crop farmers and those self-employed in agriculture, at about 46 percent and 39 percent respectively in 2012/2013.

Smallholder farmers are often caught in a trap of low earnings, low savings and low investments, which result in low levels of production and productivity. Inequality in the country has been on the rise with the Gini income coefficient going up from 37 in 1992 to 42.3 in 201317. Work in rural areas, especially in the agricultural sector, is associated with low and insecure incomes, poor occupational safety and health conditions, gender inequality in pay and opportunities, and limited access to social protection. These conditions cause distress and migration from rural areas particularly among the youth.

High inequality undermines the resilience of communities to possible shocks, and leaves larger shares of the population vulnerable to poverty.  FAO will contribute to building resilient communities and creating enabling environment for addressing rural poverty using a multi-sectoral approach through the following outputs:

1.       Reinforced capacities of national authorities and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector for emergency preparedness to reduce the impact of natural threats and crises;

2.       Strengthened capacities of communities with application of vulnerability reduction practices and measures; and

3.       Strengthened national capacities to design and implement multi-sectoral poverty reduction policies, strategies and programmes, including in the context of migration and climate change.