The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) was established to oversee and manage the implementation of the Ghana Program under the Millennium Challenge Account through an agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (on behalf of the U.S. Government).
The $547-million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact, also known as the Ghana Compact, was implemented to reduce poverty by raising farmer incomes through private sector-led agribusiness development. To this end, the program focused on increasing the production of high-value cash and staple food crops and enhancing the competitiveness of Ghana’s export base in traditional agricultural crops. The program consisted of three strategic projects to promote economic growth – the Agriculture Project, Transportation Project and Rural Services Project.
IFDC, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) led the Agriculture Project, with funding from MCC. IFDC served as the Northern Regional Implementation Consultant (Northern RIC) with overall responsibility for the Commercial Development of Farmer-Based Organizations (CDFO) component of the Agriculture Project in the Northern Intervention Zone (2008-2011). In parts of the Northern Region, the incidence of poverty in the rural population is as high as 90 percent. Approximately 360 farmer-based organizations (FBOs) in the region, comprising 18,000 farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), benefited from the project.
The CDFO component focused on the following objectives:
- Training farmers and enterprises in commercial agriculture.
- Improving access to, and use of, irrigation to enhance agricultural production.
- Improving post-harvest handling and value chain services.
CDFO Progress (January-June 2011)
- Twelve FBOs, including 600 farmers, completed “Stage 1” training and were then trained in crop productivity (“Stage 2”).
- Starter packs were distributed to 6,971 farmers who completed Stage 2 training. The packs included maize, rice, soybean and groundnut seeds, three bags of fertilizer, rubber boots and respirators.
- FBO business action plans were prepared for submission to participating financial institutions (PFIs) and financial non-governmental organizations.
- Market linkage activities – Records from two SMEs show that 1,370 metric tons (mt) of rice (worth $892,450) were purchased from FBOs in the five intervention districts.
- The Bontanga and Golinga irrigation dams were rehabilitated.
- The project collaborated with FBOs and private investors associated with Agribusiness Centers (ABCs), which are post-harvest facilities where farmers can sell or store their crops. The project provided assistance to 20 FBOs as they underwent a process to be registered as unions.
- Data collection was ongoing through partnerships with Training and Technical Service Providers (TTSPs) and Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs). Data from some districts were entered into a market information system (MIS).
- Successful supervision and completion of Stage 2 technical training for 108 farmer-based organizations and their members in 2009. These FBOs, involving 5,043 farmers, completed 972 sessions of Stage 2 training at a 95 percent average attendance rate. Stage 1 of the program effectively trained 101 farmer-based organizations and 4,970 farmers.
- Business action plans for 108 FBOs and 14 SMEs were submitted to five PFIs in the Northern Intervention Zone. In an early 2009 update, IFDC reported the status of 49 business plans worth $3.1 million that were transmitted to PFIs in the Northern Intervention Zone. At the end of the following quarter, an additional 122 business plans (108 FBOs and 14 SMEs) worth $6.29 million were submitted for financing, of which 88 (worth $2.94 million) were approved.
- The project partnered with TTSPs and Ministry of Food and Agriculture extension agents to facilitate value chain linkages for Stage 1 trainees. As part of the effort to encourage farmers to produce and market their yields at profitable rates, IFDC organized five value chain workshops, with approximately 150 participants per district. The workshops facilitated linkages between farmers, processors and buyers in the five districts. The TTSPs continue to assist the FBOs as they receive their loans – monitoring loan use and eventual repayment.
- Input Starter Packs were distributed to 5,320 trained farmers in the beneficiary districts.
- Irrigation and processing demonstration sites were identified.
- A gender analysis was completed for the Northern Intervention Zone.
- An assessment was conducted to determine farmers’ knowledge of the environmental impacts of their activities.
- Technical workshops and coordination meetings were held involving MiDA and implementation consultants to ensure close cooperation toward meeting the compact goals.