Farmer groups and Civil Society Organisations working in the agric sector have raised a red flag about possible food crisis after the coronavirus pandemic.
While commending the measures put in place by President Nana Akufo-Addo to defeat the raging global pandemic in Ghana, the farmer groups and CSOs have urged him to also focus strategies that will improve the livelihoods of Ghanaians and avert any threat of food insecurity.
“The obstructions in the transport system, the closure of schools leading to the halting of the school feeding programme that demand food items from farmers directly, the restrictions in movement of farmers in lockdown areas and slowdown in the activities of hospitality industries that demand fresh vegetables and fruits from farmers impede farmers’ direct access to market and could lead to postharvest losses in most perishable goods in rural areas,” the organisations warned in a letter dated April 6, 2020, to the President and signed by Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, Director of Programmes and Advocacy at PFAG on behalf of the organisations.
In the letter by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and the CSOs, they also provide proposals on how Ghana can minimise the impact of the pandemic on food security.
Although Agric Minister, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, has said “there is more than enough food in the system to take us through this very difficult period,” the farmer groups and CSOs in the agric sector say there is imminent danger.
They say the disruption in agribusiness activities including input supplies, service delivery and movement of extension officers within and outside the restricted zones, the ban on movement of people including seasonal labour migration from and to the restricted regions who form the major source of manpower needs for food production in Ghana and the quarantine measures may cumulatively affect food production.
“As farmers and organisations working in agriculture, we have already taken initiatives and are working with local health authorities and community radio stations to support the public education on COVID-19 with tailored messages for farmers in their local dialects within selected districts.
“In addition, we are ready and willing to offer any support that government may require of us in technical and other aspects that are within our means to fight the pandemic,” the organisations said in the statement to the President.
Other agro-sector think tanks have also warned the government about possible food security challenges post-coronavirus and have called for prompt action.
Below is the statement by the farmer groups and CSOs with a raft of proposals on how Ghana can prevent food security challenges after the pandemic.