Improving the Food Policy Process Lessons from Capacity Strengthening of Parliamentarians in Ghana

"Evidence-based policymaking has been a critical aspect of development strategy for more than 20 years in developing countries. Yet the assumption that policymakers will automatically adopt and use evidence made available to them in the process of policymaking may not be valid in all contexts. Strengthening the key actors and players of the policy process is one way to improve evidence-informed policymaking. In this paper, we document an approach to capacity strengthening of parliamentarians in Ghana and attempt to gauge to what extent and under what conditions such investments could lead to better debates and informed policymaking to promote growth and poverty reduction. We traced a group of Ghanaian parliamentarians to draw lessons after their study and exposure visit to India. Exposure visits changed participants’ knowledge, outlook, and thinking toward agricultural policies. While knowledge gained was useful, participants, on their return, faced significant inertia of the policy system to move their ideas forward. Understanding the mechanics of the policy process, involving participants early on to decide on their capacity needs, and continued follow-up in the policy process can contribute to successful strengthening of the policy process."