In Ghana, one of the obstacles to food security and growth in the agriculture sector is the challenge of transporting and storing crops after they are harvested. For example, farmers’ investments in their crops can be squandered by poor primary processing infrastructure (i.e. the first stage of converting raw materials into food commodities), which often results in high post-harvest losses.
Farmers may also be forced to accept low prices for their produce, often selling to “drive-by” middlemen or women for lack of better options. Grain buyers, too, are at risk of lost income when their grains fail to meet the quality and quantity requirements of international firms, an issue that has resulted in valuable exporting contracts being cancelled. At all stages of the value chain, from farm to fork, these inefficiencies prevent agriculture from reaching its full potential in Ghana.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is helping address these challenges through the construction of agribusiness centers (ABCs), aggregating points for grains that give private sector investors an opportunity to positively impact processing, storage, and access to inputs like seeds and fertilizer for farmers. MCC is constructing ten ABCs in nine Ghanaian districts, each one equipped with a primary processing shed, a warehouse, an agro-input shop, and offices.
USAID is also helping sustain MCC’s investments in Ghana by supporting four of the new ABCs in the Northern Region with technical assistance in business planning, warehouse management, and institutional management. These four ABCs may also be included in a pilot warehouse receipts system that provides proof of ownership for deposits to the warehouse, allowing farmers to use their crops as collateral for loans, while also facilitating trade and potentially stabilizing prices.
By providing the tools to help ensure the quality of agricultural products, these centers help farmers participate in high-end markets and get better prices on their produce, resulting in a win-win for farmers and exporters.