Agricultural projects in Ghana are usually formulated around partnership arrangements as an approach to mobilize strategic actors. The partnership (Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Innovation Platforms (IPs) are used as a means for achieving broader developmental goals of poverty reduction, inequalities and food security. There is evidence of the value of partnerships in creating networks, and mobilizing resources for effective collective action. But, there is limited knowledge on how interventions or Services delivered by partnerships empower different categories of smallholders, and with that outcomes for inclusive development. Inclusive development implies building the capacities of the historically marginalized group (women, youth, resource-poor smallholders), to expand their assets and capabilities to benefit from partnership development activities in such a way that their livelihoods are impacted positively.
To understand the promotion of inclusiveness by partnerships, a research project, ‘Partnership Arrangement as Strategic Action for Inclusive Development: Practice and Outcome’, was implemented by the Wageningen University, CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute and University of Ghana. The project among others sought to generate insights on the empowerment and the perceived outcomes generated for various smallholder farmers (intended beneficiaries) in the different value chains.
Using a mixed method, the project studied four different project-based partnership arrangements within the cocoa, cassava and soybeans value chains. Preliminary analyses on the different partnership processes, the created opportunity structure, smallholder agency and empowerment outcomes have been generated from the case studies. For instance, insights gained suggest that, in the formal structured cocoa value chain, the partnerships provided technological innovations and improved service and input delivery to improve smallholder cocoa productivity. The food (soybean and cassava) value chains were rather local and informal. Here the partnerships not only focused on improved on agricultural practices but simultaneously worked on the organization of local value chain actors, with special attention to farmer organization. Apart from training in agricultural production, they supported farmer organization to enable them establish the desired credit, processing and marketing arrangements.
The research team, led by Dr. Charity Osei-Amponsah found that in all cases, partnerships’ prime intention was to improve the agricultural production and market structure, benefiting smallholder farmers. In the cocoa sector, arrangements were created to better serve cocoa production needs of the smallholders. In the cocoa PPP, service provision was formulated in a top-down manner, while the cocoa IP included farmer representatives in the deliberation and learning. In all cases, smallholders made use of the provided services and training, but in some cases the marginalized did not participate fully as they could not deliver the required product quality; could not make large investments without additional leniency and support, or preferred investment in related processing and trade activities. For example, women tend to benefit more through their involvement in processing and petty trade than in agricultural production.
The workshop was organized to share the detailed insights gained from the four different partnership cases, and to jointly discuss the lessons learned such as:
What could policy makers and development practitioners learn from these experiences? How to orchestrate partnership arrangements to ensure effective and sustainable structures for inclusive development?
What aspects require further research?
The workshop also engaged participants to share their experiences and groups were formed to discuss issues pertinent to the Export Value Chain. The participants were tasked to discuss what type of partnership set-up (organigram with actors involved) is needed in the export sector to ensure inclusive development (sustainable agricultural production, coupled with smallholder empowerment)?
They were also asked to find out how to ensure that the marginalized (women, youth, immigrants) attain a proper voice in farmer organizations and partnership structures?
On the Food Value Chain the discussions were centered on
- What type of partnership set-up (organigram with actors involved) is needed in the food sectors to ensure inclusive development (improve profitable, sustainable agricultural production, processing and marketing)?
- How to ensure that the marginalized (women, youth, immigrants) attain a proper voice in farmer based organizations and partnership structures?
The Director General of the CSIR, Ghana, Prof. Victor Kwame Agyeman chaired the opening ceremony and morning session. Dr. (Mrs.) Wilhemina Quaye, Acting Director of CSIR-STEPRI gave the welcome address. Other speakers at the Workshop were a representative of the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) Dr. (Mrs.) Rita Owusu-Amankwah, Mr. Thierry van Helden of the Royal Dutch Embassy, Accra, Prof. Felix Asante, Director of ISSER, University of Ghana and Prof. Annemarie van Paasen, University of Wageningen.
Dr. George Owusu Essegbey, the immediate past Director of CSIR-STEPRI, chaired the Technical session which saw Prof. van Paasen giving a presentation on the Overview of the Partnership Arrangements while the leader of the Research Team, Dr. Charity Osei-Amponsah presented on the findings of the Partnership Arrangements. There was group work leading to Plenary Reporting and Discussion.