We need food to feed the world

BY: Daily Graphic
File photo
File photo

The saying: "A hungry man is an angry man" sums up the importance of food in our daily lives.

Food is an indispensable item in the life of every living creature, and for us human beings, it is an issue of global security, which explains why any hike in food prices becomes a serious national issue.

Last Friday, Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark the 41st anniversary of the World Food Day. Although the day is marked every October 16, we did ours on Friday, October 15.

The day was marked on the theme: "Our actions are our future — Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life."

The World Food Day commemorates the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and its commitment to improve the nutrition status of people worldwide.

Since the first commemoration in 1981, it has been observed every year in the over 194 FAO member states, including Ghana.

We are delighted at the consistency with which the day is observed annually, with focus on creating worldwide awareness of and action against poverty and hunger.

We at the Daily Graphic note with satisfaction the government's commitment to find solutions to challenges facing the agricultural sector.

At least, this was the assurance a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops, Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, gave at this year's commemoration of the day.

However, it is sad that even though we are all aware of the crucial role agriculture plays in our very existence and its potential to transform the economy, it has not been keenly prioritised.

Agriculture has not found active expression in the development agenda of many governments except for a few.

Mention can be made of President Kwame Nkrumah’s industrialisation drive which was linked to agriculture as the source of raw materials for industry in the 1960s and the acclaimed success of the ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ initiative in the 1970s, led by Gen. I.K. Acheampong, the then Head of State.

In all of this, one would have thought that our agricultural sector would develop to an appreciable level.

We are aware that the current flagship policy on agriculture, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), has been designed strategically to improve productivity and production in crops, including tree crops, livestock and other areas, through mechanisation.

Surely, the PFJ has pushed the agricultural sector up remarkably, and we commend the sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and his team for the consistency with which they have championed the flagship programme.

Unfortunately, Ghana still wallows in low technology adoption, high cost of financing, poor access to markets, huge post-harvest losses and low value addition. All these continue to impact negatively on our food situation, which threatens food security in the country.

We believe that mechanisation is the way to go if we are really targeting food sufficiency and security.

We, therefore, urge the government not to relent but continue the mechanisation drive by concentrating more on small, hand-held machinery for easy use by smallholder farmers, who contribute over 80 per cent of our food needs.

When we are able to equip smallholder farmers, chances are that food production will go up, which will in turn bring down food prices and ultimately ensure food sufficiency and security.

As the Daily Graphic joins the rest of the world to celebrate farmers for ensuring that there is enough quality food on our tables, we urge the world to show renewed commitment to prevent poverty and hunger everywhere. We need enough food to feed the world.