Ghana needs adequate investments in the agricultural sector to transform food systems, Prof. Amos Laar of the University of Ghana has said. Prof. Laar, a consultant of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) who conducted a review of Ghana’s food systems, says the interest of farmers need to be prioritized if an appropriate food system fit for the future can be built.
He was speaking at a meeting in Accra for the dissemination of findings from Ghana Food System Dialogues and Landscape Diagnostic Analytics.
He disclosed that illegal mining, inappropriate use of agrochemicals, lack of storage facilities, the poor legal framework of land issues, malnutrition, and the over-dependency on rain are amongst the major challenges identified in Ghana’s current food systems that need to be addressed. Prof. Laar said there is the need to develop food systems transformation investment plans, enhanced investments in agricultural expansion, and also improve accessibility to financial services including raw credit and microcredit to fund small agribusinesses.
“We want food systems to be transformed to do what we want it to do which is to impact people, to impact climate, to promote prosperity, peace, and partnership which is sometimes referred to as the five Ps linked to the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Prof. Laar said there is the need for the implementation of innovative processes for small scale farmers to be able to secure seeds and other essentials, increase funding for investment in agriculture, introduce producer subsidies and sustainable food production, as well as private sector investments towards transforming food systems in Ghana.
The United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) held in September 2021, aimed at leveraging strategies and pathways to shape national and international food systems to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and deliver progress on all the 17 SDGs.
AGRA, whose mission is to catalyze and agricultural transformation in Africa, responded to requests from African members states to support their participation in the UNFSS through Member State Dialogues. With Support from IDRC, Ghana, together with Malawi and Rwanda, were selected to participate on this project to support the government led UNFSS Dialogues and to identify priority, concrete, integrated actions, and policies required for achievement of the SGDs. The AGRA supported project was complemented by the work of other collaborators in the Food Systems Transformative Integrated Policy Initiative (FS-TIP) that generated food systems analysis and diagnostics to inform the Member States’ Dialogues and cross-sectoral policy decisions.
The objective of the meeting was to disseminate findings from the Food Systems Transformative Integrated Policy Initiative (FS-TIP) project, the Ghana National Food Systems Dialogue, and all other reports from the 2021 UN Food System Summit to key Ghana government officials.
Now, AGRA is assuring it will play a key role to have Ghana’s Food Systems Dialogues document disseminated to all relevant stakeholders to ensure its intended purpose is achieved.
“Now that we have the document, there is the need to develop a strategy for dissemination especially for follow-ups because Ghana has made commitments. This is what the Ghana government says we will like to do by the year 2030 and so AGRA will make sure that we support to make sure that the constituents or the people of Ghana can follow and then put the government on the spot to make sure that you have said that you will do this, so work,” Dr Dorothy Effa who is Programme Officer at AGRA told the media after the meeting.
Dr. Effah noted that the importance of the Food Systems Dialogues cannot be overemphasised while adding that it is the goal of AGRA to continue playing its role for Ghana to enjoy the full benefits of the Food Systems.
“This Food Systems we need it because we have challenges and if you have challenges then there is the need to find solutions. We are taking a holistic view of agricultural production. We want everybody to have a stake for us to achieve the goals of the Food Systems,” Dr Dorothy Effa stressed.