Renowned agriculturalist and politician, Dr Abu Sakara Foster, has warned of a looming shortage of food supply in the country in the coming year.
According to him, “the depletion of global food stocks coupled with local effects of drought and floods has put the adequacy of Ghana’s food supply in 2021 at serious risk,” explaining that in Ghana, droughts and floods in various parts of the country played significant roles in depleting food reserves.
Dr Sakara Foster made the assertion in a write-up to the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA).
He is of the view that gains made by the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative (PFJ) and supported by the buffer stock scheme are insufficient to make up for the crop losses of 2020.
“This looming food shortage has further been aggravated by the extraction of maize and rice from Ghana by neighbouring countries in the Sahelian belt namely Niger, Burkina and Mali while Ghana was distracted with its election and did not take preventive actions,” he observed.
Dr Sakara Foster further observed that the net result of the combination of global and local events is that food prices (namely maize and beans) will increase sharply in response to increased demand and reduced supply.
“Indeed this trend is already visible with maize increasing from Ghs 120 per bag to Ghs 180 per bag in Damongo. Similar increases have occurred in other areas in the northern sector. The recommendation to farming communities is not to sell too much maize, rice and beans, because you may have to buy them back at even much higher prices later in 2021,” he opined.
He called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to as a matter of urgency, take actions that will cushion the effects of food shortages in the medium term by funding recovery from crop losses in order to maintain and possibly expand planted areas to recover from the effects of Covid-19 and localized weather impacts.
In addition to funding recovery from crop losses and expanding planted areas, Dr Sakara Foster also suggested that Ghana in the long term fund more irrigation projects to ensure that larger areas are cropped under irrigation.
“Increases in irrigated areas must however, be coupled with highly efficient water use technologies like N-Drip technology and also cost effective energy supply from renewable sources like solar. Also, adjustment of existing programs within a revised framework for up-scaling operations that have attained modest gains in productivity, is essential to making further progress more rapid and at lower costs,” he stressed.