The Deputy Ranking Member of the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament, Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw has argued that Ghana’s decline on the Global Food Security Index reflects a failure of agricultural policies under the Akufo-Addo Administration, particularly the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ).
Ghana declined from 78th position in 2016 to 82nd position in 2021 on the Global Food Security Index recently published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Dr. Jasaw, who doubles as Member of Parliament for the Wa East Constituency, believes the drop in Ghana’s rank is a reflection of failed leadership by the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia Government in the agriculture sector.
The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) considers the issues of food affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience across a set of 113 countries.
The index is a dynamic, quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model constructed from 58 unique indicators that measure the drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.
The challenges stated by the EIU as agricultural challenges for Ghana include food security and access policy commitments, food loss, and dietary diversity.
According to Dr. Jasaw, the reduction in Ghana’s rank on the global Food Security Index reflects yet again the lack of in-depth policy formulation and detailed approach to policy implementation by the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia-led Government.
He maintains that “After five (5) years of aggressive implementation of the PFJ programme, we cannot account for the so-called increased production figures that being reported by the Ministry of Agriculture. No elaborate value chain arrangements are in place to ensure the efficient utilization of maize and rice. That is why we witnessed recent shortages in maize to feed the poultry farms, as well as the shortages and high increases of food prices witnessed recently. He explained further that Ghana’s priority crop production efforts are not linked to local industry or even a dedicated export market.”
“Consequently, any gains in production appear to be leaking out of the country. So essentially, the government enjoys the slogans associated with PFJ for instance and happy to tout increases in production figures which are questionable anyway, because the produce is simply not available in the markets for domestic consumption.”
Dr. Jasaw further believes the reduction in Ghana’s rank on the Food Security Index is a verdict on the agricultural policies of the Akufo-Addo Government.
He stated “The reduction in the global rank indicates that we have gone far backwards as a country.”
He accused the finance ministry of deliberately delaying the release of funds to pay fertilizer importers and suppliers, which affects fertilizer prices and availability at the time crops require them for optimum utilization.
“Even after recent harvest and the continuous hype on Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, a box of local tomatoes that used to sell at GH¢200 now sell within the range of GH¢350 to GH¢600. Again, about 56% of debt owed fertilizer suppliers for the 2020 production year has still not been paid by government. This presents real threats to production input availability for 2022 cropping season.”
Dr. Jasaw called on the government to be sincere with itself and appraise itself with the impact of PFJ initiative and produce relevant key performance indicators of the program.
“It is not enough to just produce, what you do with what you produce along a value chain is what you need to improve performance on the Food Security Index”, he added.