A day’s workshop aimed at discussing issues affecting smallholder farmers and producers and to make them productive has been held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
Organised by the Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers (GhaFFaP) through the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), it also sought to provide opportunities for stakeholders to build synergies to support smallholder farmers.
It brought together representatives of the Northern Ecological Zone of Forest and Farm Producers Organisations (FFPOs), Department of Social Welfare and Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reduction Project (GSLERP), among others.
The FFF is a global multi-partner trust fund involving the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED), International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Agricord.
Speaking to the media at the end of the event, the Secretary of GhaFFaP, Mark Akparibo, said the event formed part of a national attempt to influence policy relating to smallholder forest and farm producers.
He said: “It is also intended to provide the platform for the smallholder farmers to interact with financial institutions on how to access financial support to achieve their production targets.
"This is a very important programme to discuss issues affecting smallholder farmers and producers and how they can be more productive and included in the country's social protection system.”
Mr Akparibo noted that smallholder farmers and producers continued to play an important role in the country's food system, saying “the move is to enhance the capacity of the smallholder farmers as they continuously provide essential food products for national consumption".
He added that their aim was to build a common synergy with stakeholders, with the aim of ensuring sustainable landscapes, adding “we will push for a policy to protect non-timber products just like Ghana Cocoa Board protects cocoa".
An official of the Climate Change Directorate of the Forestry Commission (FC), Emmanuel A. Baapeng, said the commission was supporting FFPOs to deal with climate change and resilience issues.
The FAO-FFF National Facilitator, Elvis Kuudaar, said the FFF provided funding and technical support to FFPOs across the three ecological zones of the country, as well as supporting integrated landscapes towards building resilient value chains and social protection.
He said the workshop, which is the first to be held, was on three key themes, namely policy aspect relating access to finance, market linkages and social protection, adding, “our aim is to move from the usual talk shops by supporting technically and providing funding to implement the outcomes of the dialogues, to bring concrete benefits to the production value chain in the savannah zone”.
“At FFF we believe that the smallholder farmers are the real agents of change for climate resilience and landscapes,” he said, stressing “globally, smallholder farmers are the architects of the food basket, who have made the nation a leading producer of many products”.