Professor Akosua K. Darkwah, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, says the outbreak of the COVID-19 and related events have informed new credit relations amongst traders.
She said the lockdown and its related restrictions in 2020 negatively affected farmers, transportion of commodities and food traders, undermining sales and prices.
“This led to the review of credit payment terms between suppliers and traders,” she said.
Prof Darkwah was speaking at a workshop in Accra, on ” The Impact of COVID-19 responses on the political economy of Africa food systems.”
She said according to a research conducted in partnership with Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), most traders could not access supply of commodities and buyers were not immediately available which slowed down sales and that players had to enter into new credit arrangements.
The research probed the impact of COVID-19 on the Ghanaian food systems with focus on supply and production of onions, tomatoes and other foods during the period.
She said it was discovered that a large quantity of onions and tomatoes used in Ghana were imported from Niger and Burkina Faso respectively, hence the closure of borders affected the supply.
“During the restrictions, there was a halt on many bussiness activities which affected sale and supply in the food value chain,” she said.
Prof Darkwah said as part of the research which covered the Greater Accra, Upper West and the Bono East Regions, a rice farmer who was interviewed in Wa, moved from supplying ten bags a week to a bag a month and lost about 70 per cent of her clients during the period.
She said the dynamics were informed by poor food preservation,price hikes, closure of schools and fear of COVID-19 by some farmers.
She said the full impact of the pandemic was not immediate but its full effect would be obvious with time.
The Professor called on government and stakeholders to put in measures and support systems to help traders and players in the food supply value chain pay themselves out of debts incurred during the pandemic.
She said the impact of COVID-19 on food systems was generally negative, however, lessons could be drawn from it to inform future decisions.
Mr Abbas Ibrahim Moro, Senior Industrial Relations Officer at the Ghana Private Road Transport Union said the transport sector was equally affected by the low supply of goods hence prices had to increase to make up for the losses.
“We have not recovered from the impact of COVID-19 in the transport sector,” he added.
Madam Patricia Blankson Akakpo, Programmes Manager, NETRIGHT, said the research was a one year long research project in partnership with the Institute of African Studies.
She said it was part of a broader project coordinated by the Institute for poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies South Africa, rolled out in three countries namely South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana.
She said NETRIGHT’s interest was to understand the gender dimension of COVID-19 responses on the political economy of Ghana’s food system as a women’s right advocacy organisation.
She said the meeting had in participation key stakeholders which included officials of State and Non-State institutions, Civil Society Organisations, labour unions, and associations working with food actors.