Members of GLIDEN with Hon. Dr. Hannah Bissiw, Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Livestock) Credit: Emmanuel Adu-Boadu
Key stakeholders in Ghana’s livestock and animal production sector breathed a huge sigh of relief in September when the Cabinet of Ghana approved the Ghana Livestock Development Policy and Strategy Document, which will officially launch in Accra on November 9.
The new policy comes at a time when these stakeholders are collectively working to address significant challenges and issues affecting their industry. Through a new shared platform, they called for an amendment in Ghana’s Livestock and Animal Production bill to help address competition with imported animal produce, limited improved breeding stock, poor animal nutrition, a lack of disease control, and inadequate water during the dry season.
This policy, which has been the dream of stakeholders in the livestock sector for decades, has been welcomed by all. The Ghana Livestock Development Network (GLIDEN), one of Africa Lead’s nine Champions for Change Networks, worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to bring together organizations in the livestock sector, including the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), to hold a stakeholder assessment and workshop in February 2015. The meeting was held to assess the level of participation in, and understanding of, the policy requirements of each stakeholder towards the passage of the draft bill.
Another meeting was held in Accra this past March. GLIDEN and the Departments of Veterinary and Animal production of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Livestock) met to review and update the bill, incorporating recommendations they received at the stakeholders’ forum with representatives from Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Parliament of Ghana, the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Ghana Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Statistical Service, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ghana Cooperative Butchers Association, and the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers.
In the March workshop, four working groups were set up: a veterinary services working group; animal production working group; policy working group; and the preparation of drafting instructions for the Attorney-General Department working group. The veterinary services and animal production working groups corrected and introduced sections into various parts of the draft veterinary and animal production bill. The policy working group examined and corrected where appropriate, all policy issues, policy guidelines, strategies, and outputs contained in the Ghana Livestock Development Policy and Strategy Document.
The approval of this policy document is considered a huge success by stakeholders as it reiterates the commitment of the Government of Ghana to build the agriculture sector to its fullest potential. One key participant, Dr. Hanna Bissiw, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Livestock) and a veterinary physician, was heavily involved in this important policy process. She actively participated in both workshops and pledged the government’s commitment to support the enactment of the draft bill into law. At the second Gap Analysis Workshop in Accra, the minister mentioned in her opening speech that, “the government is committed to seeing Ghana’s agriculture grow and we desire that Ghanaians will have and eat what is produced in Ghana. Ghana has a rich livestock sector; we can boast of very good and healthy meat. His Excellency the President and the Minister for Food and Agriculture are both keen on seeing this bill passed into law to help regulate and improve Ghana’s livestock sector.”
She expressed the Government’s gratitude to all its donor partners, especially the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for supporting GLIDEN and the Ministry of Agriculture in this important initiative. She acknowledged that the crop sector has had more support than the livestock and that the Government appreciates donor partners such as USAID for the support to the livestock sector.”
The Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), the host organization of GLIDEN—which works to “develop and promote the livestock sector in Ghana,”—considers the approval of the policy document as laudable and believes it will better regulate the livestock industry to reduce imports to create more opportunities for locally produced poultry products.
With a renewed sense of empowerment, members of the network are assured of reaping the positive results of their hard work.
A highly motivated member of the Network, Chief Alhaji Issifu, National Secretary of the Ghana Cooperative Butchers Association, said, “Joining the network and participating in the workshops and meetings was the turning point of our lives. It has taught us to advocate for our rights as butchers by mobilizing our members to speak as one voice. We now understand the important role we play in ensuring that we produce healthy meat for our fellow Ghanaians. We will continue to use the knowledge acquired from the trainings to improve on our production and how we take care of our livestock.”
Africa Lead, through its flagship Champions for Change Leadership training program, imparts knowledge and delivers various support services for Champions—men and women leaders in agriculture—to develop, lead, and manage the policies, structures, and processes needed for the transformation process.
The Champions for Change Network concept was conceived in 2014 to promote dialogue and networking among individuals whom have benefitted from various capacity support services of the program to enable them contribute to addressing key policy and agricultural issues.
Africa Lead, as part of empowering transformational leaders, seeks to leave a legacy of emboldened networks within the agriculture value chain. These agricultural development advocates, who are grouped into nine active networks, have developed work plans, set their network goals, objectives, and are implementing key activities to promote mutual accountability, coordination, and inclusiveness.