The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, a UN Agency that promotes efficient management of Africa’s natural resources has lauded the Public-Private Partnership – PPP agreements in the agricultural sector.
The current agreements according to the institute is making a positive impact economically, on farming communities especially.
This follows the release of its maiden report aimed at improving development outcomes of PPPs in agriculture and the environment.
Speaking with JOY BUSINESS after the launch, Consultant for the study Dr. Richard Bonsi said the country stands to benefit enormously if PPPs aimed at improving yields in the agric sector are prioritized.
The 5-month study which sought to find out what outcomes exists from PPP arrangements in agriculture and the environment considered 7 domains for study. It explored the economic benefits derived by the communities and the partners in the PPP arrangement with respect to access to land by the farmers especially.
It also inquired whether there are benefits with respect to environmental sustainability and also whether there are any benefits in the area of social inclusion and cohesion for the communities.
Two domains according to the report were identified as most significant statistically thereby, making major impacts. These were the economic and technological domains.
“Some of the communities have improved enormously in the use of technology and have adopted some new equipment for their use” Mr. Bonsi noted. A case in point under the technological domain is one community producing onions which has seen the project introduce a prototype storage facility for the farmers.
“The facility has according to the report helped the farmers in storing their onions thereby, increasing the lifespan of their onions. They are now able to sell their produce for a good price over a long period of time without having them go off.
The economic domain has also been identified to have so far made a major impact in the area of job creation. More people in the community now have jobs and are earning some income from the PPPs arrangements within their communities.
The food security domain is also doing pretty well according to the report.
Out of the 7 domains, 2 are doing exceptionally well while the remaining 5 are yet to make the desired impact. Mr. Bonsi however indicated that the 5 other domains are showing signs they would eventually meet expectations.
“Under the Access to Land domain for instance, the onion farmers currently do not have any challenges. This is because owners of the land have now seen the viability of the project hence, are more willing to offer land for onion cultivation” he added.
The impact so far made by the Environmental Impact Domain was seen not to be that significant but we saw some visible signs.
For instance, the Zoomlion Waste Collection Project has reportedly improved sanitation in some of the communities where the project is being carried.
Residents in those communities spoken with expressed joy saying, they are now sure of the sanity of the food they buy from vendors in the community because there are now fewer house flies around. Gutters in the communities according to them are also not as choked as they used to be.
Mr. Bonsi is hopeful the outcomes of the study would go a long way to help shape policy by better informing legislators in the enactment of the PPP Law currently before Parliament.
He therefore called on parliament to expedite work on the enactment of the PPP law to help streamline PPP arrangements in the country.
Project Coordinator Calvin Atewamba said the knowledge gab in respect of the challenges faced by the agriculture sector informed the decision to conduct the research.
An empirical data on the performance of the current PPP arrangement he said could be the way out since it could assist policy makers in taking informed decisions.