Ghana produces a variety of crops in various climate zones, which range from wet forests to dry savannas. Agriculture comprises 54% of GDP, 40% of export earnings, and provides over 90% of the country’s food needs. Today, Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers, with dynamic rubber, citrus and oil palm sectors.
Climate change remains a major threat to Ghana’s agricultural sector, with many of its strategic crops especially vulnerable to changing climates. Various efforts to support climate change adaptation are being frustrated by widespread tenure insecurities. Low productivity of farmers and weak access to inputs and services make many highly vulnerable to shocks.
Ghana has witnessed a rapid expansion of land-based investment in the late 2000s, particularly for bioenergy crops. While many such investments collapsed, Ghana continues to attract significant investment into traditional cash crops, plantation forestry, horticulture and staple crops such as maize and soy, especially from Europe and its diaspora.
While land-based investments made important contributions to rural job creation, many have been criticized for disrespecting customary tenure claims, with involuntary displacement and environmental destruction a widespread consequence. With many investors adopting plantation production systems, opportunities for smallholder farmers to benefit from investment are limited.
Key initiatives and commitments
Many institutions and initiatives have in recent years sought to overcome these issues. This includes the Guidelines for Large Scale Land developed by the Lands Commission and projects such as Responsible Investment in Property and Land that are working to clarify and align the stakeholder roles of responsibilities for land allocation. The Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidance developed by the Ghana Association of Bankers also offers important guidance to financial institutions in Ghana with respect to financial inclusion and responsible business financing.
Various efforts to strengthening relations between smallholders and agribusinesses have also emerged. This includes, for example, the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project and SNV’s 2SCALE that, among others, facilitate smallholders’ integration into agribusiness supply chains and inclusive business development.