The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has stated that two million Ghanaians will be vulnerable and become food-insecure if the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts this year’s planting season.
In a report published on the COVID-19 pandemic on 15 May 2020, AGRA noted that Ghana’s restrictions on public gathering are making it difficult for farmers and community extension training programmes to undertake agricultural activities.
Ghana’s partial lockdown has been lifted and there is no restriction on the movement of persons and goods but the land borders, with neighbouring countries – Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso – remain closed.
According to AGRA’s report, although Ghana’s food reserve is mostly in the hands of the private sector, aggregators and processors, “about 1.5 million people in Ghana (approximately 5% of the population) are food-insecure and two million people are vulnerable to become food-insecure if COVID-19 disrupts the planting season for 2020”, adding: “Planting has commenced and 60 per cent of the farmers” are demanding seeds while fertiliser has been secured
AGRA said it is leading a campaign to mobilise support for the 2020 planting season.
It includes the provision of PPE to support the work of agricultural frontline staff, reaching out to farmers, facilitating farmer access to private sector-driven input and outmarkets, and digital payment system.
Others include facilitating area yield insurance for 10,000 farmers, bundling agro-input with insurance and providing digital extension services through SMS messaging, radio and videos.
The Government of Ghana’s response has been to facilitate access of one million smallholder farmers to seed and fertiliser for the 2020 planting season at 50 per cent subsidy and also develop new lands under irrigation and inland valleys for rice production.