The Devolution Revolution: Implications for Agricultural Service Delivery in GhanaDOWNLOAD FILE
March 2, 2018 - Author: Danielle Resnick
Danielle Resnick, 2018. The Devolution Revolution: Implications for Agricultural Service Delivery in Ghana. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 95. East Lansing: Michigan State University.
In 2009, Ghana began pursuing the devolution of functions and responsibilities from the central government to the country’s 216 Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Agriculture was among one of the first sectors to be devolved, a process that became effective in 2012. This paper analyzes how this transition has proceeded, with a focus on the implications for agricultural civil servants within the MMDAs, accountability to citizens, and agricultural expenditures. Empirically, the paper draws on a survey of 960 rural households, 80 District Directors of Agriculture (DDAs), district level budget data from 2012 to 2016, and semistructured interviews with a range of national and local government stakeholders. The findings show a number of positive benefits of the transition for DDAs, including more opportunities for employment mobility and the chance to engage more with local citizens in designing agricultural projects. Yet, financial constraints are the main complaint, with low and uncertain funding a common hindrance to delivering services and adequately staffing offices. Budget data reveals that the share of funding budgeted for agriculture has changed only marginally since 2012 while agricultural expenditures in absolute terms and as a proportion of agricultural households has declined, even in comparison to other devolved sectors. Political incentives may be partially responsible for these trends in budgeting as elected Assembly members tend to prioritize other sectors with more visible outcomes. Citizens are influenced by these dynamics, with those who have access to agricultural goods and services being significantly more likely to claim that they are satisfied with the agricultural devolution process.