Bringing politicians on-side in Ghana

Dr. Robert Zougmoré (CCAFS West Africa regional program leader) with Dr. Abu Sakara, presidential candidate at the latest elections in Ghana and Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture
Photo: Vincent INSAH (Ghana platform)

Linking researchers and policy makers is what CCAFS is about. In 2013, Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research/Animal Research Institute (CSIR/ARI) showed just what this strategy could achieve.

Most Ghanaians depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. They are vulnerable to recent rapid changes in rainfall patterns that have resulted in longer dry seasons, rivers drying up, lower soil fertility and more erosion. According to some climate models, Ghana’s agricultural production may fall by 7.5% between now and 2050.

In 2012, the Council arranged a series of activities to encourage Members of Parliament and other stakeholders to put climate adaptation and mitigation at the heart of the country’s agricultural plans. Thanks to the Council’s efforts, the Chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Environment has made a commitment to do just that.

In particular, the government now supports research on climate-smart agriculture. A new book from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), West African Agriculture and Climate Change: A Comprehensive Analysis, has raised awareness of how climate change will affect agriculture and has informed the national debate. The book explores the potential consequences of climate change for the region’s agriculture and food security, and includes recommendations for the region’s governments.

“We used to get huge harvests of millet, maize and groundnuts but now we don’t get anything. Our soil is poor and the rains are also low. The temperature is never coming down … that’s why our crops don’t do well any more”. Ghanaian farmer