Ghana’s over dependence on natural rainfall to grow food to feed its citizens in this global warming and climate change dispensation is a threat to food security in the country.
Already, the World Bank has warned government over the inexorable drop of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, which in 1991 stood at 65% and nosedived to 23% in 2012, representing a reduction of 50%.
This report by the World Bank does not only reflect on cash crops like cocoa, coffee, oil palm, cashew and cotton, but also cassava which provides carbohydrate in most Ghanaian meals. Cassava is used to prepare starch, ‘fufu’, ‘kokonte’, ‘banku’, ‘agbeli kaaklo’ and ‘gari’.
Though cassava is one of the common crops in Ghana and easiest to cultivate, it is currently expensive and hard to come by. Its price on the market has doubled over the past few years. In 2013, a bag of 250 kilogram of cassava was sold at GHc25, GHc50 in 2014, GHc100 in 2015 and GHc200 in early 2016.
Food vendors and traders have predicted that if government does not put in place measures to control the market prices of food stuffs, sooner than later, one cannot afford to buy food stuffs in this country.
According to them, many of the cassava consumed especially in Accra are from the Eastern Region, where most cassava farms have been invaded by galamsey (illegal mining) operators.
The food traders and vendors also noted that most farmers don’t engage in commercial cassava cultivation, which would enable its availability. Ama, a trader at the Odawna Pedestrians Market told The Chronicle that the harmattan has also contributed immensely to the shortage of cassava, being experience in the country lately.
“Before you can get just one bag of cassava, you have to reach Agbogloshie market as early as 2am. You should have the strength to climb the truck that brings the cassava and also to struggle with others over the tubers, because the traders are more than the bags of cassavas that are brought to the market.
“As you can see, I bought a half bag, because another woman struggled with me so we have to share a bag.” Since cassava is not sold in a bag to the final consumer, traders sell three tubers of cassava, depending on the sizes between GHc5, GHc10 and GHc20.