Government must continue to create an enabling environment to attract private sector resources and expertise into the agriculture Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements, a research report has said.
Government, however, must be cautious not to fall into the trap of deferring the provision of all goods and services in the interest of PPP arrangements.
Dr Martha Adimabuno Awo, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, presenting a research finding and recommendation at the Agriculture Policy Research Summit, said the country’s PPP environment was nascent and has room for significant progress to be made.
The summit organised by the Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP) was to present research findings and recommendations of the ‘Assessment of PPP Arrangements in the Agriculture Sector and Assessment of the Implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme: Lessons Learned and Way Forward’ to stakeholders, especially policy makers.
It was also to explore, how proposed recommendations could be adopted to formulate and adjust policies and programmes implementation that assist with strengthening the enabling environment for increased and sustainable private sector participation and investment in Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s flagship programme.
Dr Adimabuno Awo said the build-operate-transfer model was uncommon in the agricultural sector due to the challenge of payment of service charges, because most of the supposed PPP arrangements in the sector did not meet the key elements in the country’s PPP policy document.
She said there was no standardised financing structure for the Agricultural PPP in the country; however, the public sector was the main financier of most agricultural PPP.
The Research Fellow said there was enormous potential for the Ghanaian agriculture sector to significantly benefit from PPP arrangements.
‘However, this can only be harnessed through improvements in the country’s agriculture PPP environment,’ she added.
Dr Adimabuno Awo said the agriculture PPP environment in the country could be improved through education and sensitisation of the public and the development of sector-specific PPP policy and strategy for the sector, which took into account the peculiar attributes of both the sector and smallholder farmers.
‘Local-Local content’ should be a pre-requisite in any agriculture PPP development to safeguard the interest of smallholder households’.
Dr. Sagre Bambangi ,Deputy Minister of Agriculture in-charge of Annual Crops, commended the organisers for providing an important platform for researchers, private sector agri-business, civil society organisation and agriculture policy makers to meet and discuss issue that were fundamental for the sustainable growth and development of the sector.
He said the country’s agriculture potential was huge and ‘we need as a nation to better coordinate to harness all resources, including intellectual research capacity to drive the transformation and modernisation of the sector for inclusive economic development’.
He said agriculture productivity was the key determinant of socio-economic transformation and thus livelihood improvements in Ghana, adding that the slightest improvement of agricultural productivity would take millions of Ghanaians out of food insecurity and low income to high levels of food security and income.
He said government’s policy objective for the sector was to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security and profitability of farmers aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity.
The Deputy Minister said government was committed to support the sector in agriculture to create wealth through PPP arrangement to contribute to economic transformation of the country.
He said it was government’s policy to engage the private sector in possible PPP arrangements to implement selected flagship policies.
‘These PPP arrangements will contribute a great deal to the success of several of the agriculture and agro-industry-related priority programmes being implemented,’ he added.
Madam Jenna Tajchman, USAID/Ghana Agriculture Team Leader, said agricultural transformation required evidence-based policies and programmes that promoted efficient and effective production and marketing systems.
She said USAID was committed to working with the Government, Ghanaian institutions and development partners to generate high-quality research to inform and stimulate policy dialogue.
She commended the Government for prioritizing agriculture within its own development agenda and said the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme offered a unique opportunity to transform agriculture in Ghana.
The Team Leader encouraged everybody to capitalize on this momentum not to only improve the productivity of farmers, but to identify opportunities to strengthen Ghana’s agricultural systems.