Former Ethiopia PM Winds Up Ghana Visit

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn
Hailemariam Dessalegn

Former Ethiopia Prime Minister and Board Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has completed his trip to Ghana, which saw him meet with President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for discussions on the future of Africa’s food systems.

He was joined on the trip by AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata and leaders from partner organizations.

H.E. Dessalegn arrived in Ghana on Sunday to witness first-hand the impact of AGRA’s investments in the country, and to consider how to scale Ghana’s successes across Africa.

“Agricultural transformation does not have a one-size-fits-all model that can be replicated everywhere. Instead, we need to document and build on successful approaches, contextualized to the approach to local conditions and assets of a specific country,” he said.

H.E. Dessalegn further sought to extend the goodwill of President Akufo-Addo’s government in supporting AGRA’s investments in Ghana for increased food and nutrition security and smallholder farmer incomes.

“From my personal experience in government, I know the importance of mobilizing strong government commitment to the agricultural sector – and AGRA is at the forefront of mobilizing African leaders in prioritizing agriculture in their policymaking,” he said.

Ghana’s Agriculture Minister Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto described AGRA as a key partner for his government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) flagship through investments in seed development and smallholder farmer support. The PFJ initiative seeks to revamp Ghana’s agriculture sector to produce more food and new jobs for its citizens.

“AGRA, in my four and a half years in this job, has been the closest partner that Ghana has had in agriculture,” Hon. Akoto said.

As part of his visit, H.E. Dessalegn toured the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) of the University of Ghana, and the Legacy Crop Improvement Center (LCIC), a seed breeding and multiplication company based in the Konko region of the Akuapem South Municipality. The two facilities showcased the impact of AGRA’s investments in inputs development and private sector support in giving Ghana’s farmers access to the best yield-increasing resources.

Created in 2007 with 11.5-million-dollar funding from AGRA, WACCI is training plant breeders and seed scientists to improve African crops in local environments. Since 2007, as presented by Professor Eric Y. Danquah, Director at WACCI, the Center has trained 149 students from Ghana and abroad in plants breeding and 65 in seed and science technology. While these students released 95 different seeds (soybeans, pearl millet, cowpea, rice, etc.) in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, WACCI developed three high-yield-capacity maize hybrids distributed to farmers in collaboration with LCIC. “Supporting capacity building through partnership and funding of agro-entrepreneurship will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals two on zero hunger, ” Professor Danquah said in his conclusion on the lessons learned from the partnership with AGRA.

H.E. Dessalegn and his delegation also engaged in discussion with partners supported by AGRA in rice, maize, cowpea, groundnut, and soybean. The session was the occasion to exchange on the key achievements and the challenges ahead.

H.E. Dessalegn’s trip to Ghana came ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit in New York, the USA, and the 11th AGRF Summit, in Nairobi, Kenya, both events happening in September 2021. The two gatherings are critical for advancing the dialogue and partnerships to achieve key food systems objectives, including the sustainable development goal of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030.

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