The Ghana Peasant Farmers Association, has advised government to have a long-term plan to cushion farmers against unforeseen circumstances and pandemics like COVID-19.
The Association says the outbreak of COVID-19 should serve as a guide to protect farmers against natural occurrences that may affect food production and threaten food security.
Following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country, farmers have also been affected by the situation as the closure of borders has led to a shortage in the supply of farm inputs.
Speaking to Citi Business News, a Programmes Officer with the Ghana Peasant Farmers Association, Bismark Owusu Nortey, said it is time to look beyond COVID-19 and put in sustainable measures to protect farmers in the future.
“We shouldn’t only think short term, and what I mean by short term is that, now that we are faced with a COVID-19 pandemic we are all thinking about what to do. I think this should give us a sense of urgency as to how we can also plan for future pandemics that might happen. Now that we are aware that there is a COVID-19 food security fund and that the government is committed to supporting agriculture, we will hope that this will be extended to cover all emergencies.”
“For example, an emergency agriculture fund where in situations like this we don’t need to be soliciting for funds but we can just rely on this income and use that to support our agriculture. That would be very critical. So, it’s a step in the right direction for the COVID-19 fund, but it’s also important for us to look beyond the novel Coronavirus pandemic and think of other emergencies that might come up and see how we can put into place measures to address any issues that will affect our farming,” he said.
The agriculture sector is among the sectors severely hit by the pandemic as the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country has caused some disruption in the food supply chain.
The sector is at risk as measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, is leading to a reduction in labour force, and affecting incomes and livelihoods as well as labour intensive forms of production for agriculture, fisheries/aquaculture and trade.
For instance, with the current social distancing protocol, farmers who previously engaged large groups of labourers to work on their farms are compelled to reduce the numbers.