Ghana’s current Agricultural Extension Policy was written in 2001. Given the emphasis on agricultural extension in more recent Ghanaian policies, the need arose to review the existing extension policy and assess its implementation to determine if there are specific areas that may require further attention to ensure that policy aims are being met. Three partnering entities—the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana; Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services, University of Illinois; and the Agriculture Policy Support Project, USAID Ghana—collaborated in the design and delivery of a multi-stakeholder Agricultural Extension Policy Forum to address this need.
The overarching purpose of the Forum was to promote policy dialogue and conduct a stakeholder review of Ghana’s existing agricultural extension policy and its implementation. Sixty-two people participated in the Forum with representatives from the public, private, and civil society sectors.
Several opening presentations set the dynamic tone of the Forum. This included a presentation on Liberia’s National Policy for Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services, a presentation which identified elements of effective extension policies, one which looked at policy from farmers’ perspectives, and one which informed participants about continental and Ghanaian agricultural extension apex organizations.
The main work of the Forum was carried-out by participants who concentrated on five themes embodied in the current extension policy and carried-out three exercises in their review of the extension policy. Through small group work, participants summarized the theme. They analyzed progress made relative to the theme, identifying constraints to further progress, and they identified gaps in the policy theme as well as possible changes to the policy theme. To complete their tasks, groups developed recommendations to address the constraints, gaps, and changes they had identified.