One Health, many partners – helping Ghana’s farmers deal with pests and crop diseases

Pests and crop diseases—spreading further due to warming temperatures and extreme weather events—have the potential to disrupt our food systems. This is a growing concern, particularly for smallholder farmers who are already most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts.

One Health technologies and a new Early Warning and Rapid Response System, being developed and disseminated by AICCRA and partners, offers a collaborative and climate-smart response.

People around the world depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. While new research and technological advancements contribute to sustaining the global food system that delivers food security, nutrition and improved incomes for farmers, the agricultural sector still faces many challenges. 

Variations in climate conditions are allowing pests to spread and survive in new environments, creating more problems for farmers. In Ghana, smallholder farmers view pests and diseases as worrying manifestations of climate change. The estimated economic costs of fall armyworm (a common pest) to agriculture in Ghana is estimated at USD 277 million each year.

Additionally, huge losses due to larger grain borer of maize and Ralstonia wilt of tomato remain unaccounted for in many small-scale farmers’ communities in Ghana. 

Conventional crop protection practices have led to pesticides overuse and residues on crops, leading to chronic environment poisoning and overall deterioration of the plant ecosystem.

However, natural remedies, for example, those that are One Health compliant and would help to address some environmental degradation, are not yet in the hands of many farmers in Ghana, and chemical fertilizers remain too expensive to be widely accessible.

One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and interdependent. 

(OHHLEP One Health definition, 2021)

Connecting Farmers to Climate-Smart Options

In response to this gap between small-scale farmers and the innovations that can boost their agricultural productivity and resilience, AICCRA is working with partners to introduce accessible One Health options that encourage climate-smart and environmentally healthier farming options, while reducing the risk of loss due to pests and diseases. 

Together with the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Biotechnology and Nuclear Research Institute (BNARI), and Crops Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CRI-CSIR), we are connecting with farmers to promote ecologically friendly and low-cost bundles of One Health compliant Climate Smart Integrated Pest Management (CS-IPM) technologies. These bundles are for maize, sweet potato, cowpea, tomatoes, and yam in 22 farming communities across the Sudan-Guinea savannah, transitional and coastal savannah zones in Ghana.

An example of One Health technology

The One Health compliant CS-IPM technology for sweet potato weevil management comprises vine treatment with crude neem extract, soil amendment with neem leaves powder with onions planted at the borders. In yam growing areas, neem leaf powder treatment for yam minisetts and soil amendment with neem leaf powder have shown to produce higher yields and lower nematodes infestation than conventional farmer practice. 

What is slowing One Health uptake in Ghana?

The One Health compliant CS-IPM technology for sweet potato weevil management comprises vine treatment with crude neem extract, soil amendment with neem leaves powder with onions planted at the borders. In yam growing areas, neem leaf powder treatment for yam minisetts and soil amendment with neem leaf powder have shown to produce higher yields and lower nematodes infestation than conventional farmer practice. 

The benefits of One Health compliant Climate Smart Integrated Pest Management (CS-IPM) technologies for farmers are multiple.

These include savings in on-farm production costs, limited human, animal and water exposure to pesticides, increased yields, and improved human and environmental health. 

But despite the clear advantages, adoption rates for CS-IPM remain low.

A new study (Sekabira et al. 2022) revealed Ghanaian farmers‘ use of CS-IPM technologies is largely inhibited by lack of access to farm inputs, credit and the necessary finance for investment in CS-IPM technologies – this is further demonstrated by gender inequalities and cultural norms that limit access.

Limited extension services to build farmer’s awareness of CS-IPM and its use, combined with gaps in policy implementation further contribute to the slow uptake. 

However, bottlenecks in pest and diseases management promoted through One Health extend beyond low adoption rates.

The systems for monitoring, detection, prediction, and warning alerts for pests and diseases are weak, according to Awudu Amadu Gariba of PPRSD. These weaknesses can lead to invasive species going undetected until they become endemic and spread quickly.

“A well-coordinated system for prediction, monitoring, forecasting, dissemination, knowledge sharing and management for invasive species steered by relevant stakeholders is lacking,”

Awudu Amadu Gariba, PPRSD

His comments are in line with the study (Sekabira et al.  2022), which proposes a multi-stakeholder platform for public and private sector collaboration that has public support, institutional commitment, and is steered by political leadership to scale One Health systems. 

Science-informed strategies for resilience

The study’s findings are informing AICCRA’s strategies for co-developing an Early Warning and Rapid Response System (EWRRS) against climate-driven pest and diseases for Ghana.

Together with relevant stakeholders and PPRSD, the national authority responsible for plants’ pest and diseases prevention and control, we have developed a EWRRS framework that will ensure institutional and departmental collaboration at national and local levels so that when farmers or extension agents detect invasive species, a report is made at the district level and dispatched to the national level  for prompt action. The framework indicates the channels for detection and reporting, and the roles of partners in prevention and response. 

EWRRS Framework co-developed by AICCRA Ghana together with public and private sector stakeholders.

When signed later this year, the Memorandum of Understanding for the EWRRS framework will formalise a partnership comprising PPRSD, BNARI, CSIR, Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), NGOs, Academia, International research centres, GMet, Esoko, farmers, media, and other key stakeholders. 

“We expect the EWRRS to strengthen and enhance our work at the local and districts levels such that information on invasive species is disseminated on time for a rapid response to be deployed,” said Awudu Amadu Gariba, PPRSD.

This multisectoral partnership will establish and sustain an efficient monitoring, detection, forecasting, prediction, and warning system. It will enhance communication and data sharing between national and international institutions and address institutional and socio-economic barriers to the adoption of CS-IPM technologies in Ghana.

“The operationalisation and implementation of an EWRRS for pests and diseases will enable collective and coordinated efforts against invasive species and climate driver threats. It will also improve Ghana’s preparedness against new risks and protect farmers from loss of investments and crop yields,” said Ghislain Tepa Yotto, AICCRA Ghana Lead. 

To support the effective and sustainable scaling of the framework, AICCRA will lead capacity building for stakeholders in reporting, risk knowledge generation, risk communication, morning and warning, risk assessment, and risk, response dissemination, and sustainable financing for the uptake of CS-IPM technologies.

Dr Michael Osae of BNARI believes an EWRRS for Ghana will make it easier to manage pests and diseases with minimal impact on humans, animals, and their shared environment.

“An EWRRS will ensure One-Health compliance of Climate Smart Integrated Pest Management (CS-IPM),” he said.

Galvanising institutions and policy makers to develop an EWRRS for Ghana is underpinned by AICCRA's mission to build lasting partnerships with local stakeholders. Partnerships with local stakeholders leading will promote efficient systems and will sustain agricultural innovations beyond the life of the project.


  • Reginald Ofori Kyere, Communications Lead, AICCRA Ghana Cluster
  • Awudu Gariba, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD)


Further reading: Determinants for Deployment of Climate-Smart Integrated Pest Management Practices: A Meta-Analysis Approach by Haruna Sekabira, Ghislain T. Tepa-Yotto, Rousseau Djouaka, Victor Clottey, Christopher Gaitu, Manuele Tamò, Yusuf Kaweesa and Stanley Peter Ddungu