Ghana commemorates World Food Day- Resolves to address challenges in agric

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Ms Ifoema Charles-Mowumba (2nd from right), a Director at the United Nations Office for Project Services, hoisting the United Nations flag as Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson (3rd from left), Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo (left), a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, look on. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Ms Ifoema Charles-Mowumba (2nd from right), a Director at the United Nations Office for Project Services, hoisting the United Nations flag as Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson (3rd from left), Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo (left), a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, look on. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

Ghana on Friday commemorated the 41st anniversary of the World Food Day with the resolve to find solutions to the challenges facing the agriculture sector. 

A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of crops, Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, identified some of the challenges to include low technology adoption, high cost of financing, poor access to markets and low value addition.

The commemoration, dubbed: "Our actions are our future — Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life", focused on making food systems more resilient to withstand global volatility and deliver affordable and sustainable diets for all.

Mr Addo said the establishment of the Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending Scheme (GIRSAL) to guarantee agricultural loans was one of the solutions to reducing the risk and ultimately the cost of lending to agriculture.

"Great efforts are also being made to promote agricultural insurance. I am confident that we are capable of addressing the challenges militating against the accelerated transformation of agriculture," he said.

The minister said the need for sustainability of the food systems had assumed a new importance in the wake of COVID-19, which exposed the vulnerability of the food systems, “with countries banning the exports of food during crisis of this nature. This makes the celebration of this year’s World Food Day very special because it implies we can no longer take food security fogranted”.

He said the pandemic had, however, also highlighted the need for increased value addition to food, the need to leverage technology for efficiency throughout the entire agriculture value chain and the need to reduce post-harvest losses through better storage and processing techniques.

Transformation

Mr Addo said the theme of the day was in sync with the purpose of the celebration, adding that “our collective action, timely and coordinated, is important to secure better lives for all and a better environment.

“Without action, then, we would not be able to achieve the transformation of our food systems, which is imperative for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” he said.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, said the occasion was a reminder of the impact of “our actions as government and citizens on sustaining national food security, conserving the environment and promoting general wellbeing of mankind”.

World Food Programme

The World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Officer in-charge in Ghana, Ms Anna Mukiibi-Bunnya, pledged that the WFP would continue to support government in accelerating rural development through strengthening agriculture value chains to improve productivity, reduce food losses through processing and produce quality food that was nutritious and safe.

“We are pleased to have been able to support one industrial agro-processor to export specialised nutritious foods to Burkina Faso, helping to improve food security and nutrition in a neighbouring country facing humanitarian challenges,” she announced.

Gratitude

The Dean of the University of Ghana School of Agriculture, Professor Irene Susana Egyir, said there was no way to live a better life without looking at what to destroy, “but it’s how we destroy that I believe we are here to get ourselves reoriented so that the role we need to play will be played properly”.