The IAWG Workshop

Against the backdrop of ongoing global initiatives to promote responsible investment that contributes to sustainable development and eradication of hunger and poverty, the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG), consisting of Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO-UN), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank embarked on activities geared towards mainstreaming the use of ‘Responsible Principles Guiding New Investments in Agriculture in a number of African countries, including Ghana.

As a central advocate for agricultural reforms in Africa and an organisation involved in global, continental and national efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, hunger, societal vices, youth extremism and youth migration by creating millions of jobs through agriculture, the OAD was invited to enlighten participants about its activities when it comes to Responsible investments in Agriculture as well as give its recommendations for the guidelines which ultimately aims to infuse responsible investment principles and practices into agribusiness operations and ensure mutually beneficial interaction between such business operations, local communities, the environment and the economy as a whole.

 

The event also featured participation by major stakeholders from Ghana like the; Ministry of Food and Agriculture, The Ghana Lands Commission, Representatives of farmer associations, Representatives of women in agriculture and representatives of youth in Agriculture, the ministry of finance was also present so was the Ghana Investment Promotion Council. Venture Capitals, the Bank of Ghana, Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) and international development partners among others, were present to contribute to the two day workshop, explaining how they have applied the existing principles in agricultural investment and the problems they have encountered.

The workshop helped to deepen engagements with the key stakeholders; but most importantly brought to knowledge, the interventions across the country leading to a framework that will enhance inputs for the principles guiding new investments in Agriculture. Presentations from the Ministry of Agriculture enlightened participants about the ministries incentives and programmes that are currently running to promote input along the agricultural value chains. The ministry threw more lights on its effort to create an enabling environment to enhance the participation of women and the youth in agriculture. Representatives from IFAD enlightened some funds readily available for agricultural initiatives as well as its many intervention programmes in the country.

The Programmes Director of the Organisation for African Development (OAD) presented the upcoming African Farmers and Agricultural Researchers awards which he explained, aims among other things is to award the hardworking farmers, and agricultural researchers across the continent as well as set the platform to join global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition, youth extremism and youth migration. He stated that the organisation has developed a unique approach to encourage the youth to see agriculture as a lucrative venture through its collaboration with cultural, business, sports (particularly football) and leadership icons.

The founder of the OAD during his presentation stated that there was a huge gap between theory and practice and that is a major issue affecting investment in agriculture, most guidelines that are supposed to aid investment in agriculture are not coming from direct consultations with the farmers on the ground, which is a major problem. He also lamented about the information gap in the agricultural sector. He stated that findings and research works or even guidelines for principles for agricultural investments, which the rural smallholders need to enhance their work are not readily available for them to access. He stated that measures have to be put in place to ensure that these factors do not mitigate the progress of agriculture. He also advised the organisers of the event that, there was an imperative need for such an event to have representation from the traditional leaders, who in Ghana are the custodians of the land; youth and women in agriculture as well as other notable stakeholders. He stressed for an all-inclusive approach to address the problem of youth apathy towards agriculture. He mentioned that responsible sustainable investments in agriculture must be focused attracting the youth into agriculture is essential for enhancing food security and nutrition and supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national, continental and global food security.

Last modified on Monday, 21 March 2016 13:27