THE Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa Regional (AGRA) stressed that for Ghana’s agriculture to take shape, the entire food system must be fixed by government with support from all other players, including the citizenry, donors and private sector investors.
Regional Head of AGRA for West Africa, Mr Foster Boateng, said that the country’s agriculture sector was not progressing the way it ought to because of a dysfunctional food system and over-reliance on foreigners for funding.
He said, however, that the country’s food system and invariably agriculture sector could not progress as desired by all and sundry if we continued the norm of waiting for donors to invest in them because “no foreigner would leave their country to just come and improve your agriculture seeing that they would get no benefit”.
Donors are not just donors. If a donor is planting maize in his country, you think he fund your maize so that you get a better price than him? Of course, not,” he said adding, if donors are funding our agriculture, they would be giving condition that would be unpleasant to our economy.
To fix Ghana’s food system challenges, Mr Boateng said we must first of all increase farmers and land productivity through research through government’s prioritisation of the sector based on evidence and data. Government must also create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the processing of the surplus that comes after increased production. These would help in ensuring sustainability and scaling.
Mr Boateng charged journalists to understand the situation in the agriculture space before giving conclusions on them. This, he said would help in educating the public to take the needed action.
He cited the recent case of the use of hybrid saying, “When we are telling farmers to use hybrid seed, you will hear journalist misconstruing that to be Genetically Modiefied Organisms (GMO)… Journalist need to educate themselves first and know what they are talking about.”
Mr Boateng said some countries in the sub-region like South Africa have embraced the concepts and they are producing in excess and exporting to Ghana for consumption.
Mr Boateng has hence asked journalist to help farmers in adopting new technologies that has the tendency to increase productivity and increasing productivity than shooting down anything progressive in the sector.
A food system encompasses all processes and infrastructure needed in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, distribution and disposal of food and food-related items. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each of these steps.