The Ghana Strategy Support Program (GSSP) and the Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) held a joint retreat in Ghana from January 19-23, 2015. The retreat was attended by researchers and staff from both NSSP and GSSP along with Washington, DC based researchers that contribute to these programs. The retreat included planning days for each program, a roundtable discussion on “Agriculture, Youth and Employment” co-hosted by IFPRI and ISSER, a dissemination event on the Nigerian rice economy and value chains in Ghana, and a field visit to the Kpong Irrigation Scheme.
As part of the planning days, the Program Leader of each program presented key research issues to be addressed in the new phases of each program. In addition, thematic leaders presented on themes, such as technology and competitiveness; agribusiness; labor; macroeconomics; decentralization; land governance & investment; drivers of agricultural transformation; youth employment & agriculture; nutrition-agriculture nexus; mechanization and agriculture; irrigation systems; and financing climate smart agriculture. These presentations addressed what had been accomplished by the research so far and possible future research on these themes. In addition, discussions were held on exploring new ways for collaboration, joint work, joint events and cross fertilization between the two programs.
In addition to the planning days, participants took a field trip to the Kpong Irringation Scheme. Participants met with the manager of the irrigation scheme, who answered questions on the demographics, operation, and challenges of the irrigation scheme. Participants then visited a rice farmer who answered questions about rice farming in the Kpong Irrigation Scheme and demonstrated a unique technique for threshing rice using a wooden container. Lastly, participants were taken to a small-scale Tilapia fish farm where the owner explained his business model and the challenges to fish farming while demonstrating how they feed the fish.