The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted a virtual learning event on Jan 27, 2021 to discuss how a seven-year, $41.6 million Feed the Future Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE II) activity has helped in addressing and mitigating the stressors COVID-19 placed on the agribusiness sector in Ghana.
Speaking at the event, USAID/Ghana Deputy Mission Director Janean Davis lauded the ADVANCE II activity for contributing to the productivity and profitability of more than 145,000 smallholder farmers in partnership with U.S. private sector, the Government of Ghana, Ghanaian agribusinesses, financial institutions, and telecommunications companies, as well as other development partners.
“The work completed this past year to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 has been truly remarkable. None of it could have been accomplished if we did not work together toward a common vision: to lift each other up, one person and one village at a time, and in so doing build a stronger, more self-reliant Ghana.”Janean Davis
In May 2020, the Feed the Future ADVANCE II activity, conducted a rapid assessment to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Ghana’s agribusiness sector. Using the assessment findings, USAID developed solutions to mitigate pandemic-related supply chain and agribusiness service disruptions.
USAID distributed personal protective equipment and hygiene kits to 22,650 farmers and conducted COVID-19 sensitization campaigns in communities; established a relief grant program that provided farm inputs such as fertilizer to 1,000 smallholder farmers; promoted and linked farmers to locally-bred seed varieties; restored disrupted ploughing services for smallholder farmers; supported over 80 outgrower businesses in their loan applications to access a portion of the 600 million cedi Coronavirus Alleviation Program – Business Support Scheme fund; and provided mobile phones to 400 women smallholder farmers to increase their access to digital information and strengthen their networks.
ADVANCE II is the flagship activity under U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative to end global hunger. The seven-year, $41.6 million project, ADVANCE II is implemented by international development non-profit organization, ACDI/VOCA, in the Northern, North East, Upper East, and Upper West Regions of Ghana. The project supports the scaling up of the agricultural investments to improve the competitiveness of maize, rice and soybean value chains in Ghana.
The project adopts a facilitative value chain approach where smallholder farmers are linked to markets, finance, inputs, equipment and information through larger commercial farmers and traders who have the capacity and incentive to invest in smallholder production. These linkages build the capacity of smallholder farmers to increase the efficiency of their farm businesses with improved production and post-harvest handling practices.
Since its inception in 2014, ADVANCE II has provided critical support to increase the average yields of maize by 307%, rice by 114%, and soybean 176%. The activity has also increased the volume of produce sold by 987,322 metric tons, resulting in total incremental sales valued at over $146 million. Smallholder farmers’ gross margin has increased by 112% (from $278 to $589) for maize, 254% (from $256 to $906) for rice, and 96% (from $290 to $569) for soybean.