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Sustainable, Healthy, Inclusive, Nutritious and Efficient (SHINE) Food System 2050

We aspire to build a resilient, integrated and ecologically-friendly food system (BRIEFS) in Ghana and West Africa.

Photo of Oliver Ujah
1 0

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

SkyFox Ltd

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Large company (over 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

http://www.skyfoxservices.com

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Accra

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Ghana

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Oti Region of Ghana with a total area of 11,066.17 km2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Ghana

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Oti Region is unique due to the following challenges: a) about 60% of women and youth in the project area either jobless or under-employed; b) smallholder farmers who produce about 95% of region’s food crops rely primarily on rain-fed production systems. As a result, farmers are vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, e.g. unpredictable drought even in rainy seasons; c) as a result, 80% of these farmers are under-employed with wages far below the recommended minimum wage of $1.69 per day; d) farmers and their labourers are exposed to health and environmental hazards and most do not have health insurance; e) due to the inadequate water abstraction, farmers grow onions only in the rainy season, which allows them to supplement the inadequate quantities they abstract from the river with rainfall. Consequently, they lose the opportunity for additional two cropping seasons in the year; f) lack of access to finance and high cost of credit: many small-scale farmers access credit through informal loans from family members and other social networks because banks prefer to service commercially oriented farmers and their interest rates are often prohibitively high. Even micro-finance institutions who ought to be lending to small-scale farmers charge up to 60% interest on loans per annum; and g) because they use same plot of land repetitively and in conjunction with pesticides, the plots are heavily depleted and soil health is deteriorating. We are already working in this area, specifically at Monkrate, Dambai, where we are implementing an integrated aquaculture and crop production project. This project is has increased the community’s food, employment and income security. The project provides smallholder farmers/groups are women, youth and men with infrastructure for irrigation and increased water availability and fish production, capacity building/training and business development support for year-round farming and fish production.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Oti Region is one of the six newly created regions in Ghana in 2019 out of a total of 16 regions in the country. The region has a total of 11,066.17 km2 and comprises the following 8 districts/municipalities: Kadjebi District (689.91 km2), Jasikan District (555.80 km2), Nkwanta North District (1,098.90 km2), Nkwanta South Municipal (2,733 km2), Krachi East Municipal (2,759.40 km2), Krachi Nchumuru District (1,194.90 km2), Biakoye District (1,105.90 km2), and Krachi West District (928.36 km2). The region’s 2020 urban population is estimated at 150,308 while its 2020 rural population is estimated at 235,597. Oti region is bordered on the north by the Northern Region, to the south by the Volta Region and to the West by the Volta Lake. The Volta Lake, the Kyabobo National Park, and Odome River Forest Reserve are the main tourist attraction in Oti Region. The region is much drier than the rest of the southern areas of Ghana due to its proximity to the north. The vegetation consists mostly of grassland, especially savanna with clusters of drought-resistant trees such as baobabs, acacias, timber (mahogany, neem, teak, bamboo, wawa, red wood, odum, raffia palm, etc.) among others; and animals including monkeys, antelopes, bush pigs, grass-cutter, weaverbirds, parrots, reptiles, etc. Between December and April is the dry season, while the wet season is between May and November with an average annual rain of 750 to 1,050 mm (30 to 40 inches). The highest temperatures are reached at the end of the dry season, the lowest in December and January. However, the hot harmattan wind from the Sahara blows frequently between December and the beginning of February. The temperatures can vary between 14oC (59oF) at night and 40oC (104oF) during the day. The social and cultural structure of the region consists of traditional setup, ethnicities, traditional knowledge and values. There are diverse ethnic groups in the region, namely, the Guan, Akan, Ewe, Buem, Nchumurus, etc. The major dialects spoken are Twi, Nkonya, Tiwuli, Akporsor, etc. Major festivals celebrated include the yam, Senkyeba, Kwasidakese, etc. Oti region thrives on primary economic activities such as agriculture/fisheries/livestock which employs majority of the population. It is estimated that at least 77% of the population of the region are engaged in agriculture, fisheries and livestock and this affirms the vital role in the socioeconomic development of the entire region. The major agricultural products include cocoa and staples such as maize, rice, sorghum, cassava, yam, cocoyam, plantain, groundnut and poultry. Various types of fresh water fish are normally harvested in the river including tilapia, mud fish, etc. Traditional delicacies common in the region include banku, akple, yam and fufu and soups as okra soup, groundnut soup, palmnut soup, and light soup prepared with fish, meat and chicken.

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The current and future scenarios that challenges Oti Region food system include the following: [A] Sustainability – The food system sustainability of Oti Region is and will always be affected by other socioeconomic and political factors including human resources (skills and capacity gap), technology (non- or low-level integration of technologies in smallholder production), people (lack of human-centered design in development intervention), public policy (widening gap between research and agricultural and community development), public infrastructure (poor road network and low-level agribusiness or value-adding infrastructure – most agricultural produce are sold unprocessed), climate change (unpredictable weather patterns and declining crop productivity), and other economic factors as poverty and unemployment. [B] Health – Oti Region has a worrying health status. Infant mortality rate is 42% and higher than the national average of 41%; and under-five mortality rate is 61% and higher than the national average of 60%.  [C] Inclusiveness – agriculture is critical for sustainable development and poverty reduction. So, agricultural growth can be a powerful means for inclusive growth. In Oti region, agriculture has not yet resulted in wider access to sustainable socioeconomic opportunities for the majority of people, especially women and the vulnerable, even though women make up at least 50% of agricultural labour force and estimated to produce 50-70% of food crops. Nevertheless, they earn less than 10% of the total income generated. This can be attributed to the controversial issue of female land ownership. [D] Nutrition – without agriculture there is little food or nutrition, but the availability of food from agriculture doesn’t ensure good nutrition. Although agriculture has made remarkable advances, its contribution to improving the nutrition and health of poor farmers and households in Oti region is lagging behind. Available data on the three anthropometric indices of nutritional status indicate that the region has 19.3% of children stunted, 6.2% are wasted and 10.5% are underweight. [E] Efficiency – food systems depend on natural resources as land, soil, water and biodiversity, etc.  Currently in Oti Region, these resources are not managed sustainably or efficiently, leading to degradation and depletion of resources (e.g. deforestation, soil erosion, bush fires), and thus risks the future of food security and system of the region.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

SHINE Food System 2050 will address Oti Region’s sustainability, health, inclusiveness and efficiency issues by providing, coordinating and implementing a number of soft and hard interventions to address these challenges. SHINE will provide and implement partnerships and infrastructure for food and food services including farm input supply, farm production and wholesale and logistics. This will be supported with relevant and sustainable science and technology (for farm inputs, food processing and packaging, food preparation, storage and transportation, and research), social organization (social mobilization and organization – ensuring that women, men and the youth have equal opportunities and participate equally, and training and extension services), and biophysical environment (ensuring the incorporation of soil health, effective use of water, climate mitigation and adaptation technologies).

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

We will provide a certified, trusted and sustainable SHINE Food System which empowers and promotes the socioeconomic and environmental wellbeing of Oti Region and its people. The procedures and processes of SHINE will be certified both locally and internationally with the goal of influencing policy at the national level and markets at both local and national level in Ghana.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The vision of SHINE is to create a sustainable and internationally certified local food system infrastructure for employment, income, and nutrition security. The goal is to scale this food system nationally and within the West Africa sub-region. SHINE will achieve this goal by addressing the sustainability, health, inclusiveness, nutrition, and efficiency issues related with the food system of Oti Region in Ghana. The current and future scenarios that challenges Oti Region food system include the following: [A] Sustainability – the current food system is fingered in the prevailing negative environmental impacts, depleting the already scarce natural resources, and weakening resiliency against future shocks. Vegetation being degraded at an alarming rate because of overdependence on it for daily livelihood activities such as bush burning, charcoal burning, farming, lumbering; while climate change is reinforcing these negative impacts. The food system sustainability of Oti Region is and will always be affected by other socioeconomic and political factors including human resources (skills and capacity gap), technology (non- or low-level integration of technologies in smallholder production), people (lack of human-centered design in development intervention), public policy (widening gap between research and agricultural and community development), public infrastructure (poor road network and low-level agribusiness or value-adding infrastructure – most agricultural produce are sold unprocessed), climate change (unpredictable weather patterns and declining crop productivity), and other economic factors as poverty and unemployment. [B] Health – Oti Region has a worrying health status. Infant mortality rate is 42% and higher than the national average of 41%; and under-five mortality rate is 61% and higher than the national average of 60%. Despite the strong between agriculture and health, agriculture and health are poorly coordinated in the region and this is reinforcing negatively the interaction between agriculture and health components as income, labour, environment and access.  [C] Inclusiveness – agriculture is critical for sustainable development and poverty reduction. So, agricultural growth can be a powerful means for inclusive growth. In Oti region, agriculture has not yet resulted in wider access to sustainable socioeconomic opportunities for the majority of people, especially women and the vulnerable, even though women make up at least 50% of agricultural labour force and estimated to produce 50-70% of food crops. Nevertheless, they earn less than 10% of the total income generated. This can be attributed to the controversial issue of female land ownership. [D] Nutrition – without agriculture there is little food or nutrition, but the availability of food from agriculture doesn’t ensure good nutrition. Although agriculture has made remarkable advances, its contribution to improving the nutrition and health of poor farmers and households in Oti region is lagging behind. Available data on the three anthropometric indices of nutritional status indicate that the region has 19.3% of children stunted, 6.2% are wasted and 10.5% are underweight. [E] Efficiency – food systems depend on natural resources as land, soil, water and biodiversity, etc.  Currently in Oti Region, these resources are not managed sustainably or efficiently, leading to degradation and depletion of resources (e.g. deforestation, soil erosion, bush fires), and thus risks the future of food security and system of the region. Oti Region boasts of abundant water resources, yet the people rely mostly on rainfed agriculture which is currently being threatened by drought and climate variabilities. This means that the communities and people within the region are unable to tap the abundant water resources for meaning socioeconomic development of the region.

SHINE will provide, coordinate and implement a number of soft and hard interventions to address these challenges. SHINE will provide and implement partnerships and infrastructure for food and food services including farm input supply, farm production and wholesale and logistics. This will be supported with relevant and sustainable science and technology (for farm inputs, food processing and packaging, food preparation, storage and transportation, and research), social organisation (social mobilisation and organisation – ensuring that women, men and the youth have equal opportunities and participate equally, and training and extension services), and biophysical environment (ensuring the incorporation of soil health, effective use of water, climate mitigation and adaptation technologies).

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Photo of Kehinde Fashua
Team

Hi Oliver Ujah welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
It's great to see you draft a vision that pictures a resilient, integrated and ecologically-friendly food system (BRIEFS) in Oti region.
Even as we begin the countdown, please make sure you have reviewed your final submission through the Pocket Guide to support you through the final hours of wrapping up your submission. This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision. Here is the link to the pocket guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o8WGMus6-V8GywWdlNwmCpk7I1fMVzcQ/view
Look forward to seeing your submission finalized by 31st January, 5:00 pm EST.