Dutch Government to partner Ghana move beyond Aid Agenda

Accra- The Dutch government is collaborating with three institutions to explore better ways of moving from development assistance to Ghana, into a more deepened trade relations in fulfilment of the Ghana beyond aid agenda.

The institutions are the Science and Technology Research Policy Institute (STEPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Ghana and the Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

With funding from the Dutch government, the three institutions have undertaken a research project, dubbed, Partnership Arrangement as Strategic Action for Inclusive Development: Practice and Outcome to help the Dutch in understanding the promotion of inclusiveness by partnerships.

The study was done in communities in the Central, Eastern, Brong Ahafo and the Northern Regions to understudy four different project-based partnership arrangements within the Cocoa, Cassava and Soya bean value chains.

At a knowledge Sharing Workshop Programme, hosted by the CSIR-STEPRI in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Thierry van Helden, a Representative of The Dutch Embassy said, the partnerships with the institutions, which started in 2014, would help provide informed direction to the Dutch to enable it explore in moving from its former arrangements of development assistance, to trade with Ghana.

The workshop was also to enable participants to share the insights of the study and discuss the issues of export and food value chains to help inform policy makers and the Dutch government.

Mr van Helden said the partnerships would help his government to pursue its new agenda of investing in Ghana’s economy and in the people, especially in cocoa production and other food crop production including cassava and soya bean in support of the new agenda of Ghana beyond aid.

Dr Charity Osei Amponsah, a Research Scientist at CSIR-STEPRI, said insights gained under the study suggested that in the cocoa value chain, existing partnerships had provided technological innovations, improved service and input delivery to improve smallholder cocoa productivity.

In the food production of soya bean and cassava, value chains were rather found to be local and informal, where the partnerships focussed on improved agricultural practices and the organisations of local value chain actors with special attention on farmers’ organisation in the areas of training, to enable them establish the desired credit, processing and marketing arrangements.

Professor Victor Agyemang Director-General of CSIR said the initiative by the Dutch government falls in line with the 17 point of the Sustainable Development Goal that calls for ‘the Creation of Partnerships’ to be able to achieve the SDGs.

I am therefore happy that CSIR-STEPRI has collaborated with Wageningen University and the University of Ghana in this research project to unravel the importance of different Partnership Arrangements for inclusive development, especially, to help project implementers to understand how partnership activities could empower smallholder farmers, particularly women.

He said inclusive development was viewed as a pro-poor approach that integrated the contributions of all stakeholders including the marginalised in addressing development issues, as well as promotes transparency and accountability, which will enhance teamwork through collaboration between governments, civil society and the private sector.

Inclusive development has, thus, been introduced into recent narrative to bridge the gap between the marginalised and those who are usually included in the development agenda.

He said for example, agricultural development initiatives were more effective for food security and poverty reduction when all stakeholders, especially smallholder farmers in marginalised communities, were actively involved in the planning, execution and monitoring of such development programs.

Prof Ageymang, said Ghana needed to move towards the deepening of its partnerships with donor partners and NGOs operating in the country, in the areas of services, industry and mostly agriculture sectors.

He said small holder farmers remained key in the inclusive drive in decision-making processes that affected their livelihoods, saying, for such farmers, access to the interventions of partnership arrangements should be able to provide them with better access to capital, markets and technical capacity building to in promoting productivity and increased incomes.

In this regard, l see today’s workshop of the Partnership research project that focuses on the ‘outcomes of partnership arrangements for inclusive development as very timely.

This is because, for CSIR and STEPRI precisely, it provides evidence for informing policy decisions in the area of agricultural partnerships for supporting the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs, as well as ‘One District, One Factory’ programmes, he noted.

Source: Ghana News Agency