Agriculture is an important part of Ghana’s economy and contributes roughly 20% of the Gross Domestic Product. Ghana’s agriculture is predominantly smallholder, traditional and rain-fed. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, about 60% of all farms in the country are less than 1.2 hectares in size, 25 % are between 1.2 to 2.0 hectares, with about 15 % being above 2.0 hectares. Ghana’s farming systems vary across agro-ecological zones. There are however some features that cut across farmlands throughout the country. The middle belt of the country holds the forest zone, where tree crops like cocoa, oil palm, coffee, and rubber flourish. The major strengths of the sector stem from a diversity of commodities, a well-endowed drainage basin, a well-established agricultural research system, and relative proximity to the European market. Also, Ghana’s agricultural land according to Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA, 2020), is estimated at 13.5 million hectares of which only about 50% is currently under cultivation and 223,008.85 hectares of land are under irrigation (out of an estimated 6.4 million hectares of cultivated area).
Agriculture contributes to Ghana’s export earnings, serves as a major source of inputs for the manufacturing sector and it is a vehicle for creating employment. The sector employs over 50% of the population in Ghana. The sector has a greater impact on poverty reduction than other sectors in Ghana’s economy and it is critical for rural development and associated cultural values, social stabilization, environmental sustainability, and serves as a buffer during economic shocks. An example is the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), launched in April 2017 which is an example of an initiative by the government supporting poverty reduction. This flagship program supports farmers with seed, fertilizer, and know-how in primary commodities and cash crops, and encourages natural soil maintenance and technologically advanced growth methods. PFJ is now promoting investment partnerships to address innovation and value-added production with a focus on domestic, African regional and export-led growth.
In 2020, domestic production of all main staple crops increased due to greater fertilizer use and improved seeds as part of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) interventions, as well as improved extension delivery and technology demonstrations associated with Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG). The amount of fertilizer provided under the PFJ program grew by 28% over the previous year. Similarly, the number of improved seeds provided to farmers grew by 60% from 18,333.00 MT in 2019 to 29,500 MT in 2020.
Seedlings provided to farmers under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) Program increased by 16 percent in 2020, from 6.930 million in 2019 to 8.050 million in 2020, covering an area of 80,050 hectares. The seedlings were supplied to a total of 117,943 farmers. Cashew, shea, mango, coconut, rubber, and oil palm seedlings were provided to farmers in 2020. Under the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) Program, a total of 86,000 cockerels were delivered to 8,450 smallholder farmers in 166 districts across all regions. In addition, 7,500 sheep were delivered to 750 farmers.
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