The United States government has announced continued support to Ghana and other African countries in terms of food supply.
This follows an alert by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations Food Organisation that there could be global food crises in the coming months with most countries in Africa being the hardest hit as a result of the Russia- Ukraine War.
It also follows reports of fertiliser shortage in Ghana due to the country’s inability to access chemicals used for fertiliser production.
At a virtual press conference organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Assistant Administer, Dr Jim Barnardt, stated that the US government will continue to work with its partners in this challenging time, and said they are working with smallholder farmers on improving uses of fertiliser and getting more for less cost.
“We work with governments, we work with civil society, private sector, and smallholder farmers themselves on how to get more, sustainably, from the amount of land they have,” he said.
Proffering more solutions, he said it’s about linking systems so that whether it’s cold storage, roads, et cetera, it’s about investments that make it easier from the seed to the market, that flow of goods moving as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Barnardt noted further that there is incredible potential in smallholder farming, therefore there is the need for African governments to pay much attention to that sector, and “It’s a matter of us maintaining our commitment to steadfast investment, particularly with a focus on those smallholders.”
Cindy H. McCain, the US permanent representative to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Agency in Rome also said before the Russia-Ukraine war, the food security context was already concerning due to the lasting COVID-19 impacts, ongoing humanitarian emergencies, high global food prices, and high fertiliser prices.
She intimated that “reduced food and supplies and subsequent price increases in these commodities make it harder for farmers in Zambia to access the input they need to plant their crops, and for families in Malawi to buy nutritious food for their children.”
McCain said further that if not mitigated, these price increases could result in significant increases in global poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, particularly in regions like sub-Saharan Africa.
She added that from the last global food crisis in 2007 and 2008, the world saw the destabilising effect it had on international order.
“During that time, food riots occurred in at least 14 African countries. And even with the release of grain reserves or the cessation of hostilities, the impacts will persist. There will be irreversible effects on food production as farmers lack the resources and inputs to plant their spring and summer crops.”
Following the food price spikes in 2008, President Obama launched the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, and it brought American ingenuity to bear to invest long term in sustainable food systems.
Feed the Future and its partners are working to strengthen resilience, food systems, agriculture investments, and improved nutrition, which are foundational to the long-term goal of improving household well-being.
The United States government has invested more than $11 billion over the next five years to address food security and nutrition needs around the world. -Asaaseradio.com