Country Case Study – Ghana

The Ghana case study was conducted under the management of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), with expert input from Charles Abugre, and a research team from the Agricultural Economics Department of the University of Ghana, Legon. The country case study brought together data and expert insights on the status and future of the Ghanaian food system, with a particular focus on the disparities between the Northern and Southern regions of the country, changing production and consumption trends in the country, influence of migration, and the resources and services available for small-scale agriculture. The convening developed these ideas in collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders that included government officials, civil society representatives, international organizations, farmer organizations, and farmers. The convening resulted in an examination of the Ghanaian food system context, implications for small-scale agriculture, challenges for key actors, and the scenarios for the future.

Ghanaian Food System Context Implications for Small-scale Agriculture
The food system contributes to nearly 50% of Ghana’s economy (as of 2010) (OECD 2016)

The food system employs nearly half of the total work force, 85% of rural residents, and a large proportion of the 300,000-500,000 new entrants into the labour force annually (World Bank 2017)

Over 55% of Ghana’s population is currently urban, with the proportion anticipated to exceed 70% by 205 (UN DESA 2018)

The population is largely youthful, with 57% currently under 24 years of age. The proportion will continue to exceed 50% of the total population till 2040.

Migration is increasing, but is uneven inter and intra-regionally, with the Greater Accra region being the biggest net receiver of migrants, and Northern Ghana as the biggest supplier

41% of food consumed by urban populations is processed, as compared to 36% of rural foods

Consumption of maize, animal-based products, horticultural products, and fat and sugar containing foods has increased

Child stunting has declined by 46% between 2003-2014, and wasting by 14%-5% between 1993-2014 (UNICEF 2017) – however, significant spatial disparities persist.

Increased consumption of horticultural goods and high value foods in urban areas presents a market opportunity to small-scale farmers

Nutrition problems in Northern areas, compounded by rapidly changing diet presents challenges to small-scale farmers particularly in the absence of health services, and access and affordability of healthy foods

Urban migration and the development of secondary urban centers presents small-scale farmers with more off-farm opportunities and employment in other sectors of the food system (e.g. processing and infrastructure)

Labour shortages driven by migration, land consolidation, and mechanization will potentially influence scaling up of small-scale operations, or transitioning out of agriculture (depending on access to resources and land-tenure constraints)

Small-scale farmers will need to adapt to meet the changing food demand and competition pressures from regional trade, and potentially counter increasing food imports

Increased linkages to commercial operations of high-value products such as livestock, poultry, fish, and horticulture, and assistance on managing quality will improve small-scale farmer incomes and sale of products in domestic markets


The scenario exercise focused on the key uncertainties, drivers and implications for small-scale farmers in Ghana. The exercise resulted in categories of areas of interest, with targeted messages and interventions for different stakeholder groups. The scenarios were discussed using the following categories:

Climate Change Markets and Trade Policy and Governance
The need for adapting to climate change impacts for small-scale farmers, and the food system overall

Necessity for tighter regulations on water and resource management and develop resources for encouraging sustainable farming practices

Protectionist policies for a short term, in combination with enabling policies to build small-scale capacity to provide domestic markets

Developing financial services to benefit farmer organizations to develop and improve market linkages

The necessity of including small-scale farmers in policy formulation

Capacity development and training to use new methods in policy making and stakeholder engagement