As global food security faces growing challenges from climate change, population growth and resource constraints, Christian Anim Asare, Brands Manager, Olam Agric, is advocating the integration of genetic science into the country’s agricultural practices.
Currently 11.7 percent of the country’s population – approximately 3.6 million people – are experiencing food insecurity, as captured by the 2020 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA).
The CFSVA study, conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), with support from the World Food Programme and Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, reveals that 5.2 percent (approximately 1.6 million people) are severely food insecure and 6.5 percent (about 2 million people) are moderately food insecure.
Of the 3.6 million food insecure individuals in the country, the majority – 78 percent (around 2.8 million people) – reside in rural areas, while 22 percent (roughly 0.8 million people) are in urban areas. The findings also indicate that 18.2 percent of the rural population experiences food insecurity, with 7.3 percent facing severe food insecurity and 10.9 percent dealing with moderate food insecurity. In contrast, 5.5 percent of the urban population struggles with food insecurity, consisting of 3.2 percent who are severely food insecure and 2.3 percent facing moderate food insecurity.
Against these findings, Mrs. Anim Asare called for the immediate adoption of scientific advancements and innovative approaches including genetic science to revolutionise food production.
This, she argued during the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) 2023 edition, will enable the sector to produce more, reduce losses, improve productivity and enhance livelihoods.
“I would like to emphasize that our country can achieve food security only when we successfully combat the persistent pest invasions on our farms. Furthermore, food security can be realized when we harness agricultural and genetic science to increase crop yields, coupled with an efficient food storage system. If we can achieve these goals, then we can confidently say that we have achieved food security,” Mrs. Anim Asare.
Mrs. Anim Asare spoke during a panel discussion on the topic Ensuring food sustainability and security: a call for new perspectives on the agricultural value chain systems.
Adding to the conversation, Fatima Alimohamed, Chief Executive Officer-African Brand Warrior, advocated a shift away from overreliance on cash crops to a more diverse approach centred on consumable products.
“Our inability to attain food security can also be linked to our dependence on cocoa. We keep focusing so much on cocoa, and now China is producing cocoa. The EU is about to implement new policies that will make it difficult to export some of our cocoa because of standards; yet we have not supported other food crops which have great potential – like plantain and banana which have enormous use, and the by-products are also of high value,” she stated.
Fred Kukubor, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Farmer Global, also called for adopting a grassroots approach to policy development and implementation.
“Consistently, governments’ policies have failed to yield any meaningful result because the real needs of farmers are not considered; and even when a policy in theory meets requirements, poor implementation makes it ineffective,” he bemoaned.
The forum’s 12th edition was set against a backdrop of the toughest macroeconomic period in over a decade; the US$3billion Extended Credit Facility (ECF) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and ensuing actions such as the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
Themed ‘Build back better: IMF support, strategies to build a sustainable economy and dynamic business environment’, GEF 2023 was organised by the B&FT in partnership with KPMG. It had Stanbic Bank, Fidelity Bank, Olam Agri, Ghana Free Zones Authority, Republic Bank and Ghana Stock Exchange as some of its sponsors. Other sponsors included Jospong Group of Companies, Access Bank, Ghana Revenue Authority and GLICO – with Asaase Radio, YMF, Happy FM and Citi FM as media partners.