Members of the Ghana chapter of the Africa Food Systems Parliamentary Network (AFSPaN) say they will work to ensure the government allocates the necessary resources to the agricultural sector to help improve food security.
Member of Parliament for Wa East and chair of AFSPaN in Ghana Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw says the group will undertake the necessary monitoring of Ghana’s performance in implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and ensure the government meets the targets. Since 2003, CAADP has served as the framework for agricultural transformation across Africa and requires among others that African Union members invest at least 10% of their GDP in agriculture.
“Under CAADP, it is expected that governments commit up to 10% of their GDP to agriculture. Unfortunately, most countries in Africa do not appear to integrate that comprehensive programming, ideas, and strategy into our production systems and production activities. Ghana last year was about 1.9%, the year before it was 1.7%,” he observed.
Dr. Jasaw was speaking at a retreat in Koforidua on enhancing the role of parliamentarians in transforming Africa’s agri-food systems organized by AFSPaN and AGRA. He said AFSPaN members are committed to influencing policies in individual African countries to increase funding to agri-food systems and help ensure social equity, poverty reduction, and general development.
“AFSPaN is a network of willing MPs that are working together to amplify the objectives of CAADP, its biennial review, and the agrifood system conversation we are having. We are so privileged that AGRA is supporting this national chapter,” he said. “It’s been a huge capacity development for us the MPs. We feel better equipped to be able to engage policy and regulation and see how we can be able to reflect some of the aspirations of the commitments we have under CADDP and see how that can begin to reflect in our national budget and our other agricultural programs,” Dr. Jasaw added.
Biennial reviews of CAADP in 2019 and 2021 showed there is an overall deterioration in performance towards meeting the required objectives. Civil society groups have urged African governments to utilize the recommendations of the review process in national policy and decisions.
AGRA is working with other partners including Care International, ActionAid, Policy Link, ONE Campaign, International Food Policy Research Institute, Akademiya2063, and Shamba Center to improve national performances. Dr. Jasaw said parliamentarians have the power of oversight over the executive “and so on we can utilize that platform to be able to amplify these issues and make sure that the impact is felt for the benefit of the people.”
Chairman of Parliament’s Environment, Science and Technology Committee Dr. Emmanuel Marfo commended AGRA and other partners for creating an appropriate environment where challenges within food systems can be dealt with across sectors. He said areas like environment, trade, and gender must adequately be integrated into efforts to improve food security. “In the spirit of integration, food system is something that goes beyond just the production of food,” he said. “I who works in the environment committee, need to make sure that we are providing adequate oversight to bring temperatures within reasonable limits and ensure climate policies are working so the entire ecosystem will have the enabling conditions to help agric production to come on,” he added.
Some other members of AFSPaN who participated in the meeting include Keta MP Kwame Gakpey, MP for Ada Comfort Doye Cudjoe Ghansah, MP for Awutu Senya West Gizella Tetteh – Agbotui, MP for Afram Plains North Betty Krosbi Mensah, and MP for La Dadekotokpon Rita Sowah. “You don’t often see MPs coming together for different purposes. So, seeing MPs from different committees coming together to share experiences when it comes to our food systems in Africa is a good thing. In general, it affords us the opportunity to work to ensure food security on the continent,” Madam Krosbi Mensah said. “We all need to come on board and propel the necessary agenda to ensure food security and value addition in the country,” Mr. Gakpey added.
David Adama of AGRA expressed concern about 280 million people on the African continent are currently malnourished, whilst the continent imports over $50 billion worth of food annually. “What can we do to change narrative? We need to work together,” he told the MPs.
Source: Daily Agric News