Gregory Fonsah inspecting a nursery.
The FY08-13 Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) in Ghana focused on horticulture and staple food crops. The program had a network of contacts throughout the agriculture sector that led USAID/Ghana to choose to implement its flagship FTF activity through an F2F associate award, drawing on the successful model of volunteer technical assistance ACDI/VOCA had demonstrated in F2F. The resulting Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Feed the Future Activity (ADVANCE) invested $32 million to spur inclusive agricultural sector growth and improve Ghana’s nutrition status. ADVANCE supported rice, maize and soy value chains through technical assistance, grants and loan facilitation for nucleus farmers, who in turn support networks of out-growers. The commercial linkages between nucleus farmers and out-growers maintained sustainability throughout and beyond the life of the project.
Volunteer technical assistance was a major component of ADVANCE. The activity drew on expertise from US, Ghanaian and third-country volunteers, who completed 95 long and short-term assignments, training nearly 28,000 beneficiaries in production and business skills. Yields and gross margins for all three crops rose significantly.
Volunteer Gregory Fonsah worked with African Farming Families Foundation Ghana to improve their training curriculum on farming as a business. Gregory visited demonstration farms and reviewed training activities, as well as visiting farmers to assess how well they were adapting to the business concept. After his assessment, Gregory held several trainings, using improved methods to emphasize financial aspects of farming. Gregory trained 150 students, farmers and government workers. Another volunteer, Mary Graves, worked with nucleus farm Asaki Farms to improve productivity, and identified lack of storage capacity as its major constraint. Asaki subsequently began construction on a 10,000 ton warehouse to allow the farm to purchase and store much more grain from its out-grower farmers.
USAID/Ghana recently bought in to the F2F model again, investing $3 million in volunteer technical assistance and other interventions to improve food safety systems, through the Improving Food Safety Systems Program in Ghana (IFSSP), implemented by International Executive Service Corps through Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)'s F2F Special Program Support Project (SPSP).
Budget: $2 million
# of Volunteers: 134
Areas of Focus: Staple crops, horticulture, agriculture research and education