The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a major public health concern but also a threat to global food security which has the potential to disrupt food production.
Preserving access to safe food and nutrition is an essential part of the health response, therefore countries must ensure that they strengthen local production and shorten food supply chains.
To achieve this outcome, there is the need to support our smallholder farmers to improve food production.
The role of the smallholder during COVID-19 in ensuring that Ghana is food secure cannot be over emphasized. Therefore, the support from government and private sector actors can help achieve this agenda.
As Ghana steps up preparation to ensure that there is enough food in the country during this “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19) pandemic period, the issue of sustained food production in the face of ban on export of food products by some countries has come to the fore.
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) is working hard to persuade farmers and labourers to continue and increase (if possible) agriculture activities in a safe environment amidst fear of getting infected.
Due to the fall in national revenue targets, PFAG believe that, funding for the Agriculture sector will be adversely affected.
In view of this, the association is proposing that, some attention should be given to smallholder farmers by managers of both Ghana COVID-19 Fund and COVID-19 Fund for Agriculture and Food Security for the purpose of advancing some grants to these farmers.
“We call for greater government support for smallholder farmers.”
This move, can help ramp up food production to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the agricultural sector.
“Our inability to produce enough food to meet demand during this pandemic, will create food insecurity as well as hike in prices for the country, the Executive Director of PFAG, Ms Victoria Adongo said.
As a result of Covid-19, the purchasing power of consumers will dip bringing about drop in demand and purchase of food items. This development will obviously put income streams of farmers at risk, she projected.
The association has asked its members to make available damage estimates caused by the situation as the association await government decisions on stimulus package.
In dealing with uncertainties in the future, the COVID-19 Fund for Agriculture and Food Security should be sustained after the pandemic.
PFAG members are working hard with limited resources to ensure that, there is food during and after COVID-19 but this will need some complimentary effort from government to succeed.
PFAG will continue to work with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and other stakeholders to ensure that activities of the smallholder farmer are not hampered and therefore food production sustained.