Today, lots of people have realized the importance of agriculture. Since the days of yore, this sector has played a significant role in improving the rural economies and GDP of our dear nation.
Despite its valuable contributions, there are some challenges facing the sector which makes it difficult to have smooth activities along any agricultural value chain. To mention a few;
••Poor roads leading to high transport cost when goods are transported from the farm to urban areas or various markets,
••High interest rates on agricultural loans,
••Banks designated to give out loans to small-holder farmers have resort to playing roles as other commercial banks,
••poor linkage between the farmer and market, ••Market queens taken advantage of farmers products by buying them relatively cheap and reselling at high prices in the cities,
••High cost of agricultural inputs
•• High politicization of Government of Ghana’s agricultural flagship programs not reaching out to exact beneficiaries,
••The constant supply of electric power not guaranteed, are among other challenges that will be raised later.
Despite our government is fully aware of these challenges, very little has been done to address them, from the past to the current government.
Today, we have been exposed or the sector has been exposed during the outbreak of COVID 19. Very little can be done at this crucial moment because we have been caught unaware of a pending pandemic. If the government does not take concrete measures and show lots of will power to address the challenges, we will be hit very very hard to the core.
Whether we like it or not, food scarcity will be felt, perishable goods in rural areas will deteriorate, and startups that rely on engaging customers from Accra, Kumasi, Tema, and other lockdown zones will fold out. There is the need for urgent pragmatic measures.
My observations and forecasts in about the pending danger corroborated with views from other notable organizations or individuals; here are few of;
_“The obstructions in the transport system, the closure of schools leading to the halting of the school feeding programme that demand food items from farmers directly, the restrictions in movement of farmers in lockdown areas and slowdown in the activities of hospitality industries that demand fresh vegetables and fruits from farmers impede farmers’ direct access to market and could lead to postharvest losses in most perishable goods in rural areas,” _Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, Director of Programmes and Advocacy at PFAG.* https://www.myjoyonline.com/business/agribusiness/farmers-csos-warn-about-imminent-food-security-challenges-after-covid-19-crisis/
More so, the World Bank in it’s press release, indicated, the spread of the flu-like respiratory disease also had potential to lead to a food security crisis on the sub-Sahara continent, with agricultural production forecast to contract 2.6% and up to 7% in the event of trade blockages.” https://mobile-reuters-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN21R0FU
Finally, President Donald J. Trump indicated on his Facebook wall that, “I have directed Secretary Sonny Perdue to expedite help to our farmers, especially to the smaller farmers who are hurting right now. I expect Secretary Purdue to use all of the funds and authorities at his disposal to make sure that our food supply is stable, strong, and safe. We will always be there for our Great Farmers, Cattlemen, Ranchers, and Producers!”
As a disciple of agriculture and haven played a major role in this sector's improvement over the years; Government has to listen to us at this crucial moment just like he listens to Doctors to find a better way to deal with the COVID 19. We are also Doctors to heal the economy.
Vozbeth K. Azumah
Agribusiness consultant with a specialty in Snail Production and Processing || Bee Keeping and Honey Production || Vegetables Farming || Indigenous Livestock Breeding Vozbeth K. Azumah
Director of My Community Farm Project
Agotime - Ziope District, Kpetoe, Ghana