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Develop policies to ensure food security — Consultant

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
• Dr Robert Aidoo, a consultant, addressing participants at the two-day validation workshop

A consultant to the government on storage policy, Dr Robert Aidoo, has said there is the need to develop holistic policies to address logistic challenges such as transport and storage facilities to ensure food security in the country.

Dr Aidoo, who is a senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), was speaking at a two-day validation workshop by the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) in Accra. 

Participants discussed two draft policy documents, namely, the national food storage policy and a procedure manual.

Food distribution

According to Dr Aidoo, after the implementation of the Ghana Food Distribution policy in the First Republic, there had not been any aggressive attempt at a food distribution programme in the country.

That policy, the consultant said, enabled the country to store food in large quantities and also transport them to other parts of the country.

“If we want to win the war against food insecurity, we have to focus on a policy that particularly addresses storage and distribution,” he said.

Dr Aidoo added that having a policy on storage and distribution could help the country store food in huge volumes, so that when there was a challenge, there would be enough food to feed the people, including the vulnerable.

Collaboration

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NAFCO, Mr Abdul-Wahab Hanan, explained that the workshop was a collaboration among West African countries to provide a road map on modernising agriculture and ensuring food security within the subregion.

He said the primary responsibility of NAFCO was to focus on food security, availability and pricing, which were necessary in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now that we are not in normal times, we need to guard our food security reserves and look at what we can do to increase the nutritional content of whatever food we are providing,” Mr Hanan said. 

He said when the two policy documents were implemented, it would help the country effectively train storekeepers and warehouse operators on how to periodically clean up and fumigate storage spaces which had been a major challenge in the sector.

“The proposed manual, when adopted, will reaffirm the need for advocacy, orientation and education regularly offered storekeepers and warehouse managers in our schools and across the country,” Mr Hanan added.

The CEO, therefore, urged the participants to ensure that the final policy documents were well thought through to stand the test of time.

Bidding

According to him, in 2017, the country won the bid to store food as buffer for the subregion, while losing out on the purchasing bid.

This time around, he said, the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative by the government had placed the country in a strategic position to ensure that it won both the purchasing and the storage bids.

The CEO further reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure food adequacy in the country, adding that “we will continue to implement programmes and strategies in this regard”.

“We are equally guided to work within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Two, which is on food security,” he said.