Gov’t Called On To Set Up Fund For Peasant Farmers Amid Food Security Threat
The Programmes Officer with the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Bismarck Owusu Nortey has appealed to government to set up a different fund for peasant farmers who also contribute immensely to the country’s food sector.
Speaking in an interview, he explained that this is the right time to invest in the sector as the planting season has started. He indicated that though government subsides prices of fertilizers, it is not enough.
He said, “Now that the planting season has started, a lot of farmers will need a lot of money to purchase inputs. Mind you, government is still running the fertilizer subsidy program for the Planting for Food and Jobs program where it is subsidizing 50% of the fertilizer. Now even with that subsidy component, if you look at the actual value that is about GHS 80 which is quite high.”
Mr. Nortey also suggested the government should reduce the prices of fertilizers by slashing again, 25% off prices as the pandemic has taken a toll on them too.
“So, if government in a way as they are providing stimulus packages to other businesses, can find a way to see how they can even increase the subsidy component, so that instead of 50% it probably hovers around 75%, the prices of the input of fertilizer will come down. Once it comes down, the farmers will be able to afford and produce more because with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the movement of farmers has become somehow restricted because inasmuch as they move to their farms some of them are a bit cautious,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana has forewarned that if small holder farmers are not supported amid the pandemic, there will be possible food shortages during the coming harvest season in November and December this year.
According to the Association, the closure of the borders has led to the disruption in seed and fertilizer supply as well as a decline in demand for foodstuffs from neighboring countries hence affecting the planting season badly.
Esoko’s prediction on food prices amid COVID-19
A commodity price survey service company, Esoko, projected in their reports gathered that prices of food items will continue to increase in the coming weeks due to the impact of COVID-19 on supply and production of some commodities.
The projection is based on the fact that two main foodstuffs purchased by Ghanaians - cassava and maize - recorded an upsurge in prices in a survey conducted across some markets after the lifting of the lockdodwn
How will increased prices of food items affect Ghanaians?
Due to the pandemic, experts have encouraged farmers to reduce the quantity of products they produce so as not to incur losses.
These are likely to cause hunger and starvation in the future should the novel coronavirus continues.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto urged Ghanaians to refrain from panic buying because Ghana has abundance of food items.