Agribusiness Chamber Calls on Government For Food Security

A plea has been made to the government by the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) to improve the nation's level of food security during these perilous times.

The plea was made in a communiqué signed by the CEO of CAG, Farmer Anthony S.K. Morrison. The communique beseeched the government to set up the Ghana Agriculture Emergency and Disaster Fund (GAE-DF) to support farmers and other players in the agriculture supply chain, as well as provide some stimulus packages and other support systems to them.

“The agribusiness industry provides a critical opportunity for rural poverty reduction and the development of low-income communities in Ghana. Food security is therefore highly critical, and hence its recognition within the MDGs and SDGs as a strong and critically achievable goal for the world.

It further stated the produce that will be beneficial to plant with this fund.

“For this reason, CAG is calling on the government to profile major food production zones in the country and prioritise resources while embarking on mopping-up other essentials in developing and commercialising vegetables and underutilised crops.

“Food security crops such as rice, maize, soybean, sorghum, yam, potato, cowpea, cassava, millet, and groundnuts should be prioritised for commercial development. The poultry, livestock and aquaculture value chains should be included in the stimulus package,” the statement read.

The chamber further called for the government to institute a committee, similar to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), comprising a High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) and relevant stakeholder institutions to oversee emergency efforts.

Food security in Ghana

Food security is a complex phenomenon resulting from multiple causes, which are food availability, food accessibility, food utilisation, and food stability. According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), about 5 percent of Ghana’s population are food insecure and about 2 million people are vulnerable to becoming food insecure.

Meanwhile, the devastating effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on public health, and consequently the economy, cannot be overemphasised. There remains uncertainty about the full extent of damage the pandemic will cause, in nominal and real terms, to agricultural productivity, agribusiness logistics, market structures
 agro-processing.

While the agricultural sector should, theoretically, be less affected than other sectors, illness-related labour shortages, transport interruptions, limited access to import and export markets and supply chain disruptions– resulting in food loss and wastage and potential price-gouging– is a clear concern. Furthermore, the reduction in purchasing power of individuals and institutions, especially as the tourism sector is adversely affected, could have a trickle-down effect on the agricultural sector.

Why should the government improve food security?
As we are experiencing a pandemic and the number of cases keeps increasing each day, it is likely that there may be a possible lockdown. In such a scenario if we have improved our food security, there will be enough food to last during the lockdown so we don't experience famine during or after the pandemic.