The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) has organized a stakeholder dialogue on Ghana Food Policy.
The meeting which was held in Accra this week brought together representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Slow Food, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA), academia, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) among others to initiate a conversation that will culminate into the development of a comprehensive food policy that clearly defines the path towards sustainable food systems without compromising the resource base for further production.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of CIKOD, Bernard Guri noted that, as of now, Ghana has no Food Policy document even though it can boast of recently passed Local government Food Safety guidelines and Act 851 2012 Food Safety Policy.
He argues that, corporate capture of Africa’s food system is a challenge that the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is helping organizations to address.
According to him, CIKOD and its partners are working to promote food sovereignty in order to manage and control the production of local food and facilitate small markets to sell produce of smallholder farmers.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) describes Food systems (FS) as encompassing the entire range of actors and their interlinked value-adding activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products that originate from agriculture, forestry or fisheries, and parts of the broader economic, societal and natural environments in which they are embedded. The food system is composed of sub-systems (e.g. farming system, waste management system, input supply system, etc.) and interacts with other key systems (e.g. energy system, trade system, health system, etc.). Therefore, a structural change in the food system might originate from a change in another system; for example, a policy promoting more biofuel in the energy system will have a significant impact on the food system.
Dr. Sylvester Ayambila, the dialogue consultant, during a presentation on the Policy Environment in Ghana; Looking at Existing Policies and Systems Related to Food, highlighted Ghana’s food production system, policies and explained the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Tripple Challenge of Food Systems.
The meeting saw participants taking turns to make contributions during the open forum.
A former head of Food Division at FDA, Mrs. Isabella Agra stated that, it is rare to find a country which has one document referred to as Food Policy document. She revealed that, during her tenure, her outfit collaborated with common interest government organizations to develop policies on food safety. “You cannot have all food security related activities under one institution”, she cautioned. She however advised that, the institution with the mandate should launch whatever document is completed and build on from there so as not reverse or stagnate the progress that have been made so far. “We have already developed organic standards and others,” she added.
For his part, Mr. Tetteh Nartey, a peasant farmer at Abokobi said, “we have to develop a policy that will transcend all governments so that we can protect our food and environment,” “The politicians should not be allowed to jeopardize our health, safety and future.”
Participants were divided into groups and tasked to discuss and agree on what an ideal food system should look like among other tasks.
The dialogue forms part of the implementation of the Project to bring together multi-actors whose work borders on food systems and create a broad-based agreement on what the food system should look like in the future with funding from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA).