Act to avert food crisis any time

Food is an important physiological need, so any talk of looming food shortage must be taken seriously and the needful done to avert it.

In July, last year, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana and the National Seed Trading Association of Ghana, two groups within the country’s food production value chain, warned of looming food shortage if measures were not immediately taken to resolve challenges related to food production in the country by the end of the year, particularly the unavailability of fertiliser.

Earlier, the World Food Programme (WFP) had launched programmes such as the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (2012–2017) and the one for 2018-2021 to help the country improve food production and nutrition.

However, the talk of looming food shortages persists.

For instance, the Northern Development and Democratic Institute (NDDI), the Tamale-based policy think tank, says the country is likely to face severe food shortages and hunger in the last quarters of 2022 and 2023.

Thus, it has advised the government and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoFA) to re-assess the nation’s food security strategy and heed the global call for governments in Africa to invest more in agriculture, especially in fertiliser.

The farmer groups too are still talking.

For instance in April this year, the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) argued that the Government’s decision to reduce fertiliser subsidies among other challenges would lead to low food production in the country.

More importantly, the GAWU said any food situation in a country was the result of efforts in the previous year(s) and dismissed the excuses using the Russian-Ukraine war as reference, stressing that there was a fertiliser shortage last year when there was no Russia-Ukraine war.

Earlier on March 10, this year, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, while inaugurating the Board of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), parried any fear of food crisis.

Today, his ministry has reiterated that position and expressed optimism about enough rainfall to ensure food increase in the country.

The ministry says a lot of farmers had invested in farming in spite of the challenges and so there must be no fear of food shortage.

The MoFA says in Ghana, food refers mainly to legumes, plantain, cassava, yam, sorghum, cowpea, rice, soybeans, and others, which it failed to define, and that with favourable rains such food would be abundant.

It is sad that the country continues to tout its reliance on rain-fed agriculture in the face of climate change and all its implications.

There is the need to resolves the challenges in the agriculture sector.

Have the debts owed fertiliser suppliers been paid?

The Concept Green Organic Powder Fertiliser made in Germany and soon to be packaged in the country is said to hold promise for food production.

How seriously is the country dealing with efforts to produce fertilisers locally?

In a country where food glut spells doom for farmers because of lack of storage facilities, is the government thinking of food-item-specific silos to contain the expected glut to save farmers the cost of post-harvest losses?

Is the government addressing the priorities stipulated by the World Food Programme during its 2017 zero hunger strategic review, including the need to map food-insecure populations to improve the targeting of social protection, nutrition security and emergency preparedness and response interventions?

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