Ghana has been selected by the US government to receive $2.5 million to boost availability of fertilisers in the country under a $150-million new and additional humanitarian funding and development assistance for Africa as the world battles food insecurity.
The assistance, pending congressional approval, is expected to focus on developing and marketing innovative fertiliser products, and offer support to importers and manufacturers, including private sector partners.
Announcing the assistance as part of a lecture on global food security which she delivered at the University of Ghana on Friday, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, raised some issues relating to the whole of Africa and those specific to the country.
A major issue about Africa is that the US will provide the support to Africa because the continent has been worst affected by the global food insecurity caused by issues of energy, climate, COVID-19 and the Russian/Ukraine conflict.
The Ghanaian Times is more concerned about the issues specific to Ghana.
One of them is that the assistance is meant to bring more fertilisers into the country and ensure they reach the most vulnerable farmers.
One other is that the food security crisis can be a clarion call for Ghana (and for Africa as well, though) to galvanise resources, infrastructure and the connections needed to make this country a breadbasket.
Another is that the country can leverage its rapid transformation toward democracy, stability, food security and peace over the years, to make more progress.
Moreover, she adds that despite some malnutrition problems in parts of the country, it is now a leader in Africa for food security and food systems and that it has a strong base to build on for more progress.
Above all, Ghana can supply even more local food, become an agribusiness hub and a breadbasket for the world.
These are important points that must engage the attention of the whole nation but particularly the leadership so that all the related problems would be resolved for the country to take its proper place in food security.
For the first issue, the government must check corruption in fertiliser distribution as some farmers complain that they are denied enough of it for use or have to pay more than the known subsidised price.
Hunger among any section of the country’s population is a national security threat so the country must produce enough food to reduce prices of food items for even the most vulnerable to get food to eat.
To this end, challenges with farmlands such as illegal mining (galamsey), unbridled hijack of farmlands by estate developers and lack of enthusiasm among the youth to go into farming must be addressed in every way possible.
Yes, the country can be made a food basket but there is the need to address farmers’ challenges with marketing and post-harvest losses.
The country needs silos and other relevant storage facilities to check waste during times of gluts to preserve the excess food for use in the lean season.