March 21, 2019 - A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference in Accra, Ghana, to discuss their findings on how non-farm work can improve farmers’ market participation and commercialization.
Representatives of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives were among almost 20 stakeholders who attended the event where the research team discussed their findings and recommendations.
In presenting their PEP study on the Rural nonfarm engagement and agriculture commercialization in Ghana, selected under the PAGE II initiative in 2017, the research team explained how farmers who engage in non-farm work have a higher likelihood of selling their agricultural products, and in greater quantities.
“Over 90% of rural households depend on agriculture but the long dry season means that farms lay idle for many months of the year,” explained Dr Paul Kwame Nkegbe, the research team leader. “By engaging in activities outside the farm, such as shea butter processing, farmers can improve their market participation and commercialization,” he said.
Based on their findings, the team made several recommendations to policymakers. “Agricultural policies should include measures to promote non-farm work,” said Dr Nkegbe, suggesting that existing policies—such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and the Medium-Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan—could be revised to encourage non-farm work alongside agricultural commercialization.Find out more about the team’s research methods, findings, and policy recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 189.
Mr Daniel Asiedu, representing the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), welcomed the findings saying that the team’s findings are very relevant to the MELR, particularly regarding employment for farmers during the long dry season.
Dr E. K. Guyan, representing the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives (MSDI) was also impressed by the team’s work. He promised to discuss with the Minister how to use the team’s findings to inform the implementation of MSDI policies.
Although not present at the event, the team have also consulted with stakeholders at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MFA) throughout the project. Mr Asiedu stressed the importance that the MFA receive the team’s report for use in updating existing MFA policies.
Several journalists attended the conference, with their reports reaching a national audience. The Ghana News Agency—the country’s official news agency—published an article, while Joy Online—a multimedia news portal—published a report that was also broadcast on Joy News.
The research team organized the event with support from PEP and in collaboration with the University for Development Studies.