Iowa State to help implement agricultural policy in Ghana

Madeline Gould

Iowa State boasts one of the leading seed science centers in the world, and is taking its expertise abroad to Ghana.

The Ghana Feed the Future Agricultural Policy Support Project aims to advance policy development, analysis and implementation in Ghana to benefit farmers.

Iowa State will be working on a policy to get higher quality seed to the farmers, but to do this, policies must be put in place to help deliver these seeds to the small farmers who make up a large part of Ghana’s economic system.

The funding for the project comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future Project. The project has granted the venture $15 million to complete the last four years of the project.

Iowa State is working with Chemonics, an international development company, Centre for Policy Analysis, a non-governmental think-tank in Ghana, and the Ghana Institute of Management and
 Public Administration to achieve the project goals.

“The goal is really to develop a value chain and develop a vibrant private sector delivery of seeds,” said John Beghin, professor of economics and one of the leaders of this project.

Beghin is also a researcher at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, which focuses on economic analysis helping to improve agricultural, food and environmental policy.

The project has two major components: helping to implement seed laws and helping the government develop better institutions on agricultural policy, Beghin said.

Implementing seed laws will increase the quality of the seeds, which will help farmers achieve more consistent yields. Iowa State is working to help by assisting policymakers to create and implement policies to benefit the farmers.

Essentially, Iowa State will have a hand in conceptualizing training programs that will help to “train the trainer,” Beghin said.

Creating these types of programs will help to increase the Ghanaian government’s and the private sector’s capacities for policy making and implementation.

The program aims to teach people in governmental positions how to implement programs and laws will help to solidify the agricultural markets in Ghana that are unsteady right now. Also, the farmers will gain access to resources to help them make more economically sound decisions.

Because Ghana has a good infrastructure, they can focus more on gaining the resources and technical training that farmers need to be successful, Beghin said.

Once farmers acquire the resources and training needed, they can become less reliant on imports and more self-sufficient.

According to, agricultural growth and development has been the biggest factor in dropping the poverty rate in Ghana from 52 percent to 28 percent during the past 10 years. Agriculture supplies half of the jobs in the Ghana.

Trying to focus on what will help the farmers is the main point of the entire project, Beghin said.

The population is dependent on farmers to grow the food they need and the project is trying to implement strong policy so the farmers can get quality seeds to grow the most food they can from season to season.

Beghin and the other members of Ghana Feed the Future Agricultural Policy Support Project are facing the challenge of economic development to create a vibrant seed industry.

“You just hope that in the long term that what you develop stays so if you go back five years later, you can see it still working well,” Beghin said.

Project leaders are hopeful the program will affect Ghana’s economy in a positive way and continue the growth that the country has seen in the past 20 years.

To reach the goals that have been set, they have to be realistic and have a critical eye, but most importantly they have to stay humble, Beghin said.