This study was conducted to analyze existing national policies and
legislation that enable or inhibit the wider use of underutilized plant species
(UPS) for food, agriculture and industry in Ghana.
The specific objectives were to review, screen and ascertain whether the policies support or inhibit the broader use of underutilized plant species, and to recommend strategies for policy formulation.
A literature search was conducted and a questionnaire developed to gather information on UPS for analyses. Six official documents were reviewed and fifteen responses were received out of twenty nine. Examination of the information obtained showed that currently in Ghana there is not a single comprehensive policy document on UPS. Mention has been made, however, of some UPS in some of the official documents consulted.
The majority of the organizations that responded have strategies and activities on UPS but they are not coordinated, due to the lack of a holistic policy on these species. Respondents were of the view that UPS can contribute to food security, improved nutrition, health and sustainable livelihoods.
The study is therefore recommending the formulation of a clear policy by the relevant sector ministries on the inventory, identification, research and conservation of UPS as the basis for the development and promotion of these species. Government should enact laws and formulate policies relating to education and training – both formal (schools, colleges and universities) and informal (farmers) - to create awareness as to the value and importance of production and consumption of UPS as import substitution plants for food, agriculture, industry and medicine.
Government, the private sector and development partners should provide the necessary financial support for research, development and promotion of UPS in Ghana.