Feed the Future in Ghana

Promising Progress, Choices Ahead

The United States has played a pivotal role in the fight to end global hunger and malnutrition, responding to devastating crises as they arise and seeking to fortify the world’s most vulnerable populations against future shocks. The flagship U.S. food security initiative, Feed the Future, has enjoyed consistently strong bipartisan support and has demonstrated that progress on ending hunger is possible. With food policy legislation and budget decisions pending, the coming months offer lawmakers, administrators, advocates, and implementers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of U.S. food security programming and to draw on experiences and lessons from the field to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of future endeavors.

 

To this end, in February 2018 the CSIS Global Food Security Project led a bipartisan, bicameral delegation of congressional staff to Ghana, an important U.S. partner in West Africa and a Feed the Future focus country since 2010. The delegation traveled from the Ghanaian capital of Accra to the northern city of Tamale and neighboring towns, connecting with farmers and community groups, entrepreneurs and researchers, national and local government officials, embassy staff and program implementers, and Peace Corps volunteers. The visit offered an opportunity to better understand Feed the Future’s diverse portfolio of investments in Ghana and to hear directly from Ghanaian partners—both in and outside of government—what they perceive as the initiative’s most important impacts and contributions. The delegation site visits and interviews focused on three core areas of Feed the Future activity:

  1. Strengthening select agricultural value chains with interventions that boost productivity and profitability. Feed the Future programming in this area aims to increase the competitiveness of rice, maize, and soybean value chains, primarily in the initiative’s main zone of influence in northern Ghana. Projects include support for an outgrower business partnership model; incentivizing financial institutions to engage in the agricultural sector; and boosting productivity through application of technology in seed, soil, and water management.
  2. Reaching vulnerable communities in northern Ghana with interventions to strengthen resilience and nutrition. In this sphere of activities, Feed the Future works with local government authorities to target some of the most vulnerable communities in Ghana, with the aim of promoting a more diversified and nutritious diet, generating sources of income and savings, and improving water and sanitation practices. These activities seek to help households and communities that are generally not able to derive immediate benefit from more market-driven, value-chain approaches.
  3. Investing in research partnerships to improve agricultural productivity and nutrition. Here the delegation met with a range of Ghanaian institutions and researchers who are partnering with U.S. universities on issues related to productivity, irrigation, pest and disease control, diversifying sources of protein, and more. The delegation also met with beneficiaries from U.S. fellowship and award programs, which support talented young women and men to pursue a career in research and mentor the next generation of agricultural scientists and researchers.

The delegation did not conduct a comprehensive or in-depth assessment while in Ghana; rather, it sought broadly to identify achievements, challenges, and questions that arise from Feed the Future’s experience in Ghana that can inform debates on U.S. global food security investments going forward. The views expressed in this report are not attributable to members of the congressional staff delegation or to the members of Congress for whom they work. Rather, they are drawn from reflections and discussions throughout the delegation visit.