A research and non-profit making organisation, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), has launched its two agricultural projects in northern Ghana. The projects dubbed: Examining Underinvestment in Agriculture (EUI) and Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholders (DIRTS) are aimed at conducting research and supporting farmers to secure insurance for their farming activities.
According to IPA’s report on the research conducted on the first project, Examining Underinvestment in Agriculture (EUI) from 2009 to 2012, based on a 1, 406 households in 84 communities of the Northern Region of Ghana, to evaluate agricultural productivity; technology adoption, the result shows that risk more than capital and other constraint creates barriers to agricultural investment by small holding farmers, hence, the poor agricultural productivity.The study hypothesis, evaluated by IPA; increased access to capital and increased access to risk mitigation strategies (uptake of rainfall insurance), showed that farmers insurance uptake increases investment, but not necessarily profits, the demand for agricultural insurance is highly sensitive to price and that other factors including trust and social networks influence the demand for insurance.
The Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholders (DIRTS), which started in 2013, is expected to end in 2016. DIRT will cover 162 Communities, 3,240 households and 12 districts in the Northern Region. The districts included; Central Gonja, Sagnarigu, Karaga, Mion, Saboba and Savelugu. The rest are Gushegu, Tolon, Kumbungu, Yendi, Zabzugu and Tatale.
The study is also to address under-investment in agriculture and low productivity through technology and risk-mitigation. According to the Deputy Country Director of the IPA, Madeleen Husselman, the projects are to boost farmers’ production in their catchment areas.
She noted that, farmers have always been producing on the low, due to lack of insurance and courage to take up risk for their farms. She also pointed out that, Community Extensions Agents (CEA) are being trained to use smart phones to receive messages in rural communities which aid farmers in their year round farming activities.
Madeleen Husselman stated that insurance allows smallholder farmers to increase farm investment when matched with complementary extension services and input technology access. Highlighting that such investment will improve per-acre production and profitability of their farming.
IPA had partnered with State institutions like Ghana Agricultural Insurers Pool (GAIP), Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), in the course of these research.