Ghana is likely to face severe food shortages and hunger in the last quarters of 2022 and 2023, the Northern Development and Democratic Institute (NDDI), has said.
The NDDI explained there would be severe food shortages because government was not heeding to global warning on looming food crisis.
The Tamale-based premier liberal public policy think-tank revealed that the monstrous effects of COVID -19 on the global food supply chain and the entire global agriculture production targets was not completely waned.
It said the Russia-Ukraine war would adversely compound the food security challenges around the world, especially in countries within the Sub-Sahara Africa, due to shortages in natural gas and fertiliser supplies.
The think-tank, in a press statement signed by its Executive Chairman, Mr Mustapha Sanah, indicated that the Institute has conducted a snap pre-planting season assessment in 11 well known agriculture-advantaged districts in Northern Ghana between April 25 and May 12, 2022 which showed acute shortage of fertiliser for smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana.
“In some instances, fertiliser companies are selling at higher prices outside the reach of smallholders, citing lack of government’s interest in paying their previous supplies,” MrSanah said.
He advised government and the Ministry of Agriculture to re-assess the nation’s food security strategy and heed to the global call for governments in Africa to invest more in agriculture, especially fertiliser.
The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Food Programme and World Trade Organisation warned that the rise in food prices had been exacerbated by a dramatic increase in the cost of natural gas, a key ingredient of nitrogenous fertiliser.
Surging fertiliser prices along with significant cuts in global supplies have important implications for food production in most countries, including major producers and exporters, who rely heavily on fertiliser imports.
The increase in food prices and supply shocks can fuel social tensions in many of the affected countries, especially those that are already fragile or affected by conflicts.
MrSanahsaid the NDDI “collated 42,240 views from 173 farmer-based organisations, 16,200 smallholder farmers, 13 agriculture mechanisation service providers, 18 agricultural extension officers, 108 women groups and 16 traditional authorities.”
He emphasised the need for the government to consolidate its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme by making efforts to ensure availability of fertiliser to all farmers.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and the government should delay no further in making payment to importers and fertilizer companies to ensure availability of subsidised fertiliser in the market. This preventive measure will ultimately mitigate the crisis when food shortages arise,” he said.
Mr Sanah urged the international community and the country’s development partners to support the government of Ghana to pay fertiliser companies monies owed them by government to pave way for new supplies into the market.
“We call on the international community especially the World Bank, IMF, WFP and WTO, EU and UN agencies and all our development partners to hasten steps to support the government of Ghana to provide fertiliser to smallholder farmers in Ghana,” he stressed.