A study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Ghana has revealed that most farmers in the country sell a large proportion of their produce, including food they reserve to eat for the rest of the year.
Those who produce food crops such as maize, rice, yam and sorghum also sell their produce because they need cash.
A researcher at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Dr Fred Dzanku, said “they [farmers] have children who go to school, and since they do not have any other source of income, they sell [the food] to take care of their needs”.
Unfortunately, he said, after engaging in such commercialisation, those farmers did not have food to depend on in the latter part of the year.
He said most of them also devoted their resources to the production of non-food cash crops, even in highly commercialised regions.
According to the study, those practices could lead to food insecurity in the country.
Dr Dzanku, who was among the nine-member team that conducted the research, made the disclosure at the presentation of findings and observations of the research in Accra yesterday.
The research, which was on land commercialisation, gendered agrarian transformation and the right to food, is a Demeter Project conducted from 2015 to 2022.
The overall objective of the Demeter Project is to strengthen knowledge on the relationship among food security, the right to food and gender equality to enable the people to claim their rights and also encourage governments to facilitate the realisation of the objective.
Ghana and Cambodia were used for the research, but the presentation in Accra focused on the findings and observations in Ghana.
In Ghana, the study was done in four districts in four regions.
The seven-year Demeter Project is funded by the Research for Development Project of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
On how to deal with the over-commercialisation of farm produce, Dr Dzanku suggested that in the short term, farmers should be educated to devote a certain proportion of their land to food production, while the state must invest in roads, infrastructure and storage facilities, in the long term.
Presenting her work on the political economy of food insecurity in Ghana, a member of the research team, Dr Gertrude Dzifa Torvikey, said industrial cassava production was an important policy imperative.
“The state and policy makers should map out what cassava means in the development of the nation and its position in the future development agenda,” she said.
Earlier, the principal investigator of the team, Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata, had said during the demeter study in 2015, there were 800 million chronically food insecure people, with 50 per cent living on small farms, 20 per cent landless, while 70 per cent were women and girls.