MoFA

During my EWB placement in northern Ghana, I will be working with our long time partner the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA). I know that some of you are thinking – Mark, I’ve seen the vegetable garden on your deck and I pity the poor fool who is going to try to learn something about agriculture from you!   Well rest assured that I wouldn’t dream of trying to teach anyone about farming.  EWB’s work with MoFA is focused on building the business capabilities of rural farmers to increase innovation, production, and profits in the long-term.

To start off, here is some general information about the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and some background regarding our (EWB’s) relationship with them.

We work primarily with the MoFA District and Regional offices in the Northern and Upper East Regions.  In the Northern Region where I will be working, the Regional Office and the Regional Director of Agriculture (RDA) are located in Tamale, a city of around 350,000. 

There are numerous districts in the region (20 in the North and 9 in the Upper East), each with a District Office lead by a District Director of Agriculture (DDA).  Under him or her there are a few District Agriculture Officers (DAOs) and several Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs), who are the MoFA representative who most frequently visit and support rural farmers.   

 I will be working in the Kpandai-New District with the AEAs and DAOs, and under the supervision of the DDA – basically on the front lines working with rural subsistence farmers.  The whole district has around 100,000 people, almost all small farmers, scattered across a fairly large area.  The biggest city in the district is also named Kpandai and it has around 7,500 people.  That’s where I’ll be living for my 4 month assignment – just a short 7 hour bus ride to Tamale (if everything goes smoothly).

Here’s a brief summary of EWB’s history work with MoFA.

  • 2004-2005 – Exploration Phase – a few early volunteers assessed fit and built relationships
  • 2005-2006 – Changes Part 1 – began work on the District Extension Project, where EWB volunteers worked in various MoFA District offices to assist Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs).
  • 2006-2007 – Changes Part 2 – assisted with new Measurement & Evaluation (M&E) systems.
  • 2007 – Agriculture As A Business (AAB) program started with EWB’s help
  • 2009 – Ramped up resources and efforts to the AAB program
  • 2010 – Having tried out various projects within the AAB program, EWB’s MoFA team is focusing our limited resources towards projects within the Quality Extension and MoFA Learning Systems areas, as projects in these areas are focused on empowering MoFA local staff as opposed to the Market Level Intervention projects where EWB takes a more direct role.

The graphic below illustrates the three major focus areas of the Agriculture As A Business (AAB) program and shows the categories of projects currently associated with each area.  I have highlighted “AAB and Other Tools” because that’s where my work will be focused (see below for more details) as will Mark Soares, who has the same assignment only in a different district.  The third Pro JF assigned to team MoFA, Jason Bletcha, will be working to help develop the AAB curriculum at an Agricultural College that trains future Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs).

  

The Agriculture As A Business (AAB) program consists of the following 8 core competencies.  Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) use a series of cards to deliver the curriculum to help farmers form groups and develop skills.

  1. Group Meetings
  2. Group Finances
  3. Group Project
  4. Group Marketing
  5. Loan Preparedness
  6. Business Plan
  7. Record Keeping
  8. Business Evaluation

My role will be split evenly between ensuring that the AAB program is sustainable and helping to develop Management Capacity within the District MoFA office. 

To learn more about EWB’s work with MoFA, check out this page:

http://www.ewb.ca/en/whatwedo/overseas/projects/agricultureghana.html

Or visit some of the blogs of other EWB volunteers who have worked with MoFA:

Carissa Vados – http://carissainghana2009.blogspot.com/

Sarah Grant – http://sarahkgrant.blogspot.com/

Sarah Legg – http://sarahsgonetoghana.wordpress.com/

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2 Responses to “MoFA”

  1. Heather August 26, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Hi Mark,

    I met your coworkers at a conference and they shared with me about the inspiring work you are doing. Can you post your email address (or send me a note), as I have a friend whose daughter (from Calgary) is coming to Ghana- if she ends up in the North, it would be great to connect her with another Canadian. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers! Heather

    • markwjabbott August 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi Heather,

      I’d be happy to chat with your friend’s daughter. I’m living in a pretty remote village, so it’s unlikely that she will be nearby, but you never know. My email address is markwjabbott@gmail.com.

      Mark

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