Development organisations and researchers working in rural communities have often failed to base their intervention technologies and approaches on small-scale farmers’ innovative capacities and active participation in the context of local production systems on which they have depended for decades for their livelihoods. Introduced technologies have often failed because they depend on high levels of external inputs and external expertise. Prolinnova–Ghana was established in 2004 as part of the global Prolinnova network to strengthen development processes of agricultural research and development (ARD) stakeholders in promoting low-external-input and environmentally sound agriculture and participatory development approaches with rural communities.
The Country Platform (CP) is hosted by the Association of Church-based Development Projects (ACDEP), located in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, with field operational offices in the Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo administrative regions of Ghana. The CP, which is governed by a 7-member National Steering Committee, is composed of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) mostly in the ACDEP network, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the Animal Research Institute (ARI) and Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) – both of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University for Development Studies (UDS) and individual ARD professionals. There are continuing efforts to expand the platform to include like-minded international NGOs and other relevant national research, development and educational institutions to achieve national policy influence and scaling up.
The Ghana CP, through ACDEP, is currently hosting and coordinating a three-year international project called “Scaling Up Local Capacity to Innovate for Food and Nutrition Security” (SULCI-FaNS) on behalf of Prolinnova. The project operates from October 2019 to November 2022 in four African countries of the Prolinnova network – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana and Kenya – in seven action-learning sites, with funding from Misereor/KZE (Catholic Central Agency for Development Aid), Germany. It is a follow-on project to scale up and consolidate the farmer-led research and innovation approach and results achieved under the previous “Promoting Local Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security” (Proli-FaNS) project, which was implemented from 2016–2019, also funded by Misereor/KZE. The aims of SULCI-FaNS are to strengthen the innovation capacities of rural communities, particularly of women; to improve food and nutrition security; to increase local resilience to change; and to contribute to building multi-CP platforms in two subregions in Africa – in West & Central Africa and in Eastern & Southern Africa.
In Ghana, SULCI-FaNS is being implemented in two action-learning sites : Bongo District in the Upper East Region and Walewale Municipality in the Northern-East Region, where previous Prolinnova initiatives were successfully implemented through collaboration with Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organization (NABOCADO) and the Center for Ecological Agriculture and Livelihood (CEAL), respectively.
Broad strategies of Prolinnova–Ghana include the following:
- Supporting joint field research and local innovation processes involving farmers, development agents and researchers based on Participatory Innovation Development (PID), Local Innovation (LI) and Indigenous Knowledge (IK) to ensure relevance and sustainability of farming technologies;
- Capacity building of farmers, women, field agents and community-based organisations to apply and scale up participatory ARD methodologies and tools to achieve greater food and nutrition security, resilience and empowerment;
- Policy dialogue and advocacy for mainstreaming and institutionalising PID, LI and other participatory methodologies in ARD programmes and policies of stakeholders;
- Networking and partnerships among stakeholders at local, national and international levels for participatory ARD.
Prolinnova–Ghana National Steering Committee (NSC):
- Conrad Weobong, University for Development Studies (UDS)
- Dan Kolbilla, Presbyterian Church of Ghana Agricultural Services
- Franklin Avornyo, CSIR–Animal Research Institute (ARI)
- George-Owusu Essegbey, retired, formerly CSIR–Science and Technical Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) – NSC chair
- (Ms) Hajara Ibrahim, Taimako Plant Research Centre
- Joseph Abarike, representative of farmer innovators
- (Ms) Patricia Fafa Formadi, UDS
Ex-officio members: Joseph Nchor, ACDEP, Prolinnova–Ghana Coordinator; Malex Alebikiya, ACDEP Director