The Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) Program is a USAID-funded project, re-designed in 2011 to comply with USAID’s new Feed the Future strategy, and implemented by a consortium of local and international partners led by ACDI/VOCA. The goal of ADVANCE is to facilitate a transformation of Ghana’s agricultural sector in selected agricultural staples (maize, rice and soybean) to achieve a greater degree of food security among the rural population in the North while increasing competitiveness in the domestic markets. The ADVANCE Program contributes directly to achieving the objectives of USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative relating to reducing poverty and hunger through inclusive agricultural growth and improved nutrition.
The program adopts a value chain approach where smallholder farmers are linked to markets, finance, inputs and equipment services and information through relatively larger nucleus (commercial) farmers and large traders (aggregators) who have the capacity to invest in these chains. The program builds the capacity of smallholder farmers to increase the efficiency of their farm business with improved production and post-harvest handling practices that include improved seed varieties and access to quality inputs, mechanization services and market access.
ADVANCE collaborates at the national, regional and district levels with Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in planning and implementing Ghana’s Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP). It also works with medium and large-scale agro-processors, farmer-based organizations, financial institutions, and input suppliers to develop the targeted value chains in a sustainable manner.
To assist in the technical delivery of the program, the ADVANCE project fields approximately 20 volunteer consultants each year through both long-term and short-term assignments, providing a total of 2,660 days of technical expertise over the life of ADVANCE. Volunteer consultants work in the following areas:
- Improved production technologies
- Value-addition technologies
- Association and cooperative development and management
- Marketing and linkages to buyers
- Grades and standards
- Training of farmers, agro-dealers, etc.
- Gender Mainstreaming
- Integrated pest management
- Training in environmental and natural resources management
Under the re-designed program ADVANCE now has over 80 staff working in Techiman, Tamale, Wa and Bolgatanga in addition to its head office in Accra, allowing for a broad geographic presence that allows for intensive, on-the-ground support.
For more information contact Meredith Jones at email@example.com.
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