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Nana Oforiwaa Koranteng: Article Covid-19 – A silver lining for modernising the agriculture sector

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In the course of the COVID lockdown interval, it turned obvious that there’s a delink concerning meals production centres (supply details) and food use centres (demand from customers). Food insecurity in city centres grew to become heightened main to some amount of social insecurity. Even just after the lockdown, food stuff availability in city centres is continue to insufficient for a selection of good reasons like an inherent concern of infection by suppliers to urban centres and the seasonal small provides of principal staples at this time of the farming calendar.

These small supplies will go on immediately after COVID-19 for food imports which include rice from Asia which contributes to 60% of countrywide demands and meat merchandise from Brazil and Japanese Europe because of to protectionists measures most likely to be adopted by making nations whose countrywide food securities would have afflicted by the pandemic. 

In the earlier 3 years’ info from MOFA show that Ghana has been self-enough in community staples including roots and tubers and veggies Hence the obstacle is not automatically food creation (source) but food distribution (entry). Nonetheless, to sustain farmers interest in rising food stuff output, they will have to be certain of a marketplace a affirmation of my proposition that “increased agriculture production is a operate of marketplace availability

The function of this proposal is for that reason to examine prospects to sustain existing food creation ranges ensuing from PFJ interventions by maximizing actual desire as a result of a reduction of the bodily and virtual length among foods creation and consumption centres. The dialogue will focus on 3 post-production links of the commodity value chains to maintain current market options and subsequently enhanced incomes for farmers to sustain their curiosity and functionality in the software of improved creation approaches for elevated efficiency and subsequent sustained nationwide foodstuff self- sufficiency in regional staples The goal is two-fold

  • Greater effectiveness in food distribution by the non-public sector in Ghana.
  • Improved urban foodstuff security
    • enhanced wealth creation
    • engendered youth employment in the agriculture sector

This paper has been produced primarily based on observations throughout the COVID 19 emergency procedures outlined by the President

Food items Aggregation and Storage

Historically meals distribution has been managed by the private sector largely by 3 important operatives’ i.e. aggregators, transporters and stores. However Governing administration has the National Buffer Inventory Company (NABCO) which manages community sector warehousing for grains and legumes, there is no denying the point that most food items distribution (specially roots tubers and veggies-cassava, plantain, yams) is carried out by the personal sector comprising mainly ladies who normally mixture from farmers and mail them to market place centers for sale to vendors for onward distribution to buyers in city centers.

On the other hand, girls aggregators in the non-public sector do not have entry to storage and haulage amenities therefore cutting down their ability to influence the need required to really encourage farmers maximize manufacturing. Their modus operandi have been to aggregate from a variety of farm family members and head cart them (or use tricycles) to sides of primary highways to glance for transportation typically (Kia trucks) to carry them to urban facilities to offer to stores for onward sale to individuals. 

Generally the vendors acquire on credit score producing the payment only following the sale of deliver, a problem which reduces the capability of the aggregators to make predicted swift change-overs by keeping an expenditure in abeyance and at the mercy of the vendors. This usually has a rebound result on farmers who also have to offer their meals on credit score to the aggregator who depending on the site of the farm frequently is a monopoly and seen as a benefactor by the farmers. A study I once undertook confirmed that really usually aggregators defaulted in payment making farmers the final losers.  The adverse rebound impact also implies farmers do not acquire timely returns on their financial commitment consequently lowering their output capabilities.

Coupled with this dilemma is the significant operational costs which direct the aggregators who generally run on shoe-string capitals to give the least attainable costs to farmers, a even further disincentive to farmers who centered on the lower return on expenditure have no solution but to either lower farm measurements or return to subsistence farming. The put together effects of weak aggregation and haulage capacities coupled with absence of storage services and pack residences for veggies add to growing each the bodily and digital length amongst food items producers and buyers a problem which does not aid the transformation of Ghana agriculture from subsistence to market place oriented economically viable companies.

Suggestions

Reduction of distance amongst generation and consuming centres.
Governing administration via the Planting for Meals and Employment has succeeded in supporting farmers improve their creation stages these past 3decades. I consider the subsequent level of assistance to modernize agriculture is to completely transform the excess meals into hard cash by developing marketplaces. But this ought to be finished as a result of the non-public sector not federal government businesses-neither the Foods Distribution Corporation and CASHPRO had been self-sustaining and there is nevertheless no sign that the NABCO is jogging on its have steam.

Meanwhile, there exists a cadre of aggregators in each and every region/district/community whose important constraint looks to incorporate operational funds, haulage and storage. In the meantime, there are distinct resources of financing for commerce with the ADB, NYEAA, NBSSI and so on. that could be re-oriented in direction of these women traders/aggregators to boost their operational capacities and cut down their reliance on the city suppliers who generally intentionally frustrate their attempts to make first rate returns on their expenditure.

Currently, women aggregators work on particular person foundation and independently arrange transport to deliver meals into current market centres. With the proposed structured assortment and haulage, these girls will have far more trusted indicates of moving foodstuff and certain marketplaces consequently creating chances for enhancing the economic viabilities of their little scale businesses  

Haulage and Distribution
Secondly, with an raise in the feeder street networks and elevated obtain to farm gates via the use of tricycles (‘aboboyaa’) I imagine there is excellent chance to develop employment avenues for our youth in the rural communities. The exact credit rating facilities as outlined higher than could be extended to teams of young adult men and women to maximize their operation capacities from the farm gate to numerous nodal details. From there a further stage of haulage deals can be facilitated to go meals to market place centres in the city centres

Employment and Income Generation
MMDAs who depend on industry tolls for the bulk of their revenues are encouraged to examine areas of facilitating the functions of non-public aggregators and haulers to backlink with recognized urban industry centres for the sale of commodities in which their districts have generation strengths. For example, it is known that underneath PFJ there had been quantum boosts in plantain production which was exported to some Sahelian international locations.

With the closure of borders, it is encouraged that meals from the Agogo and other regions in the Afram plains be redirected to Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Cape Coastline. When properly managed, this kind of preparations will improve inter-district trade and collaboration, well timed redirect meals goods to exactly where they are most wanted and minimize defaults in payment to farmers thus empowering them to increase their creation degrees.  

The Interior Ministry could also do the job with transporters and the immigration company to deal with food exports in assist of AFCTA

Packaging
Eventually, it was understood that the COVID-19 restriction period of time built a need for foodstuff in residence packages pretty interesting. Most middle-revenue homes and younger specialists obtain their food items specifications on a weekly foundation for ease in three major spots

  • Domestic storage potential
  • Successful budgeting Readily available dollars outlay
  • Efficient use of time  

To answer to this obstacle, MMDAs can produce incomes by means of structured packaging to boost standardization in weights and measures. Younger women and males less than the Nationwide Builders Corps can be engaged in packaging area staples to meet up with the demand of these kinds of urbanites. Regretably, the inability to use permitted weights and actions in the sale of nearby staples has been a important supply of profits loss to the Ghanaian farmer. As very well, MMDAs can improved arrange commodity spots at numerous sector facilities to minimize congestion and help fulfill setting up and environmental benchmarks in our food items markets.

Conclusion
To each dark cloud, there is a silver lining. In the past 4 yrs, Ghana has embarked on a comprehensive system to modernize her agriculture from subsistence to a market-oriented economic climate with a check out to transforming her really hard-performing farmers into agri-entrepreneurs with aggressive incomes.

Whilst COVID-19 has brought appreciable hardships to city dwellers it seems our hardworking farmers are not as hard strike in their enterprises. Sadly, it will consider a calculated exertion to reward their difficult perform by facilitating techniques that will help them get respectable returns on their investments. It is hoped the foregoing will be a wake-up phone to both equally our community and private sector determination makers to take yet another glimpse at help to the agriculture sector as a essential contributor to Ghana’s GDP.  

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Nana Oforiwaa Koranteng, a Enhancement Economist, is the Principal Specialist at MIGALS Consulting Support Ltd. Her know-how is in Agriculture Coverage, Meals Safety, Regional/Rural Growth setting up, the design and use of Checking & Evaluation Methods



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