President Akufo-Addo supports the establishment of district-level science-policy platforms across Ghana

President of Ghana Nana Addo Akufo-Addo (r) and the Paramount Chief of Lawra Naa Puowele Karbo III (l) at the Kobine Cultural Festival, in the Lawra District of Ghana. Photo:

The President of Ghana responded favorably to the appeal of the Chief of Lawra for the upscaling of climate-smart agriculture science-policy dialogue platforms at district level

The Kobine Cultural Festival, in the Lawra District of the Upper West Region of  Ghana, is celebrated every year in October to mark the end of a successful farm harvest. The Kobine 2017, marking the 41st anniversary of the festival, was held from the 15th to the 16th of October. The theme for 2017 was "Improved farming practices for food security and poverty reduction".

Assessment of climate change policy and institutional context: The case of Ghana

In the Upper West Region of Ghana, where climate change is hampering the development of agriculture, joint efforts are needed urgently. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), through its Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs), is testing and validating several climate-smart agriculture (CSA) options to help improve the adaptive capacity of farmers and production systems in the context of a varied and changing climate. To help translate evidence from the CSVs into policy actions at the national and local levels, CCAFS facilitated the establishment of Climate Change Agriculture Platforms (CCAPS) at district-level. These platforms are made up of various stakeholders, including farmers, researchers, local policy actors, traditional rulers, NGOs and practitioners for science-policy interactions on climate change, agriculture and food security in the Lawra District. A ripple effect of the CCAPS in the Lawra district has resulted in the establishment of four more district-level platforms in the Upper West Region, in Jirapa, Nandom, Nadowli, and Lambussie. Additionally, five district-level platforms have been replicated in other regions of Ghana, bringing the total number to ten. 

In Lawra, the CCAPS are currently achieving positive results. For the last five years, initiatives undertaken by the platforms have resulted in increased awareness on climate change and CSA among the sub-chiefs and the farming population. These initiatives include social learning visits to CSV sites, annual farmer-research-development workers’ durbars (public receptions held by the traditional Chief of Lawra), and radio discussions resulting in improved crop yield outcomes. 

Platforms as a means of bringing climate-smart agriculture to farmers

Stakeholder response to protecting the environment has improved with by-laws compiled and submitted to the local policy authorities for gazetting. The enforcement of these by-laws should further stimulate positive outcomes, such as preventing indiscriminate fires and the cutting down of economic trees for charcoal. However, despite these benefits, the platforms face challenges with logistics and funding. 

The district CCAPS are usually hosted by diverse local institutions. The Lawra CCAPS is hosted by the Lawra Traditional Council. The Kobine festival was, therefore, a special occasion for Naa Puowele Karbo III, the Paramount Chief of the Lawra traditional area and Chairman of the Lawra CCAPS, to promote the platforms as a fast and sustainable means of bringing CSA to farmers in Ghana, and appeal to the President of Ghana to support them, thereby ensuring food and nutrition security.

We need government and NGOs’ support with and involvement in farmer education, strategy, and policy that provide for collaboration and regular interaction and dialogue among stakeholders and farmers“, the traditional ruler said, observing the need to scale-up CSA and calling for support. 

A positive response from President Nana Akufo-Addo came as a prelude to his speech when he indicated to the Lawra Naa and his people that he (the President) and his government have taken note of the need for support to local structures for climate-smart agriculture. The State Minister of Food and Agriculture and that of Local Government and Rural Development, who were present at the function, were asked to address the concern. 

Moreover, the President informed the chiefs and people of the Lawra area that the Government of Ghana is undertaking a positive transformation of its agricultural sector through numerous national initiatives and policies such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), One village, One Dam and One District One Factory. The president also annouced the strengthening of human resource capacity and logistical support for the agricultural extension services system to ensure the success of the initiatives.

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Dansira Dembélé is Communications Officer for CCAFS West Africa.

Karbo Naaminong is a member of the Ghana CCAFS science-policy dialogue platform, implementing a CCAFS Policies and Institutions project and promoting partnerships with the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme in Ghana.