The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, has announced that the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, has approved a request of $20 million dollars for Ghana’s food production and to deal with emergencies that may arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister, who made this known at a press briefing to address Ghana’s food security situation amidst the pandemic, also noted that IFAD is also considering another request for an amount of $90 million dollars much later. He added that the initial fund of 20 million dollars will be ready in a week or two.
Touching on post COVID-19 on Ghana’s food security, the Minister said Ghana’s food security is assured, and that the country faces no shortage in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic. This he attributed to the success of government’s flagship programme, the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme.
Commenting on the government’s flagship programme, the minister said the government is on course to meet production targets and produce for 2020 with the support of the Ministry of Finance and development partners led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, through the GACIP project.
The Minister stated that the COVID-19 pandemic provides a golden opportunity for Ghana to optimize its penchant for food production to meet domestic needs, grow agricultural exports and create jobs for the youth of the country.
“Due to an export ban in countries from where we export food like rice and poultry, it provides a compelling situation for us to put strategic measures in place to ramp up production for all our key commodities. It also gives us the opportunity to intensify agro-processing, that’s reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring all-year-round food and ability whiles creating the needed jobs”.
He said since the COVID-19 outbreak, MOFA has engaged various stakeholders for immediate response to the disease and also design post-COVID-19 actions.
“Some of the immediate actions include market surveillance; where market prices and food availability on the market are monitored, PPE for extension agents, development of guidelines for the production, public education; facilitating food distribution and others. Medium-term actions such as facilitating access to critical producers, aggregators, processors and support the Buffer Stock Company of the Ministry to mop up a strategic stock of food security, re-establish early warning systems to provide regular update on food production and an establishment of COVID-19 support for Agriculture and Food Security”. He stated.
He said the agric sector contributes significantly to the growth of Ghana’s economy, hence, government is resolute in growing the sector.
“The target is to take agric growth to a double-digit of 10% in the next two to three years”.
He said for the start of the planting season, he will visit ten regions to monitor activities by farmers and assess the implementation of Government’s support programmes.
He commended farmers and all other stakeholders in the Agricultural value chain for ensuring the availability of Food during the partial lockdown and beyond.