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Food security continues to deteriorate – ISSER urges government to hold optimal buffers

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Despite significant productivity growth in major staples in the last decade or so, the food security situation in Ghana continues to deteriorate.

According to the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), data from Cardre Harmonise (West African security monitor) suggests that the food security situation in Ghana just like other ECOWAS member states, have worsened.

Presently, there are more than 22% of Ghanaians who are either under pressure or in crises when it comes to meeting their food needs.

This, ISSER, said is due to price shocks coming from the cost of transporting products to the marketsand rapidly changing input prices or limited supply of inputs.

Hold optimal buffer stocks

It urged government to hold optimal buffer stocks to address price volatility and its implication on food security.

Current estimates by ISSER in terms of how much buffer of grains Ghana should hold per time is about 800,000 tonnes if the cost of maintaining these stocks is 10% of the value of the grain.

ISSER added that though significant investments have been made by government and the private sector in warehousing infrastructure, the challenge had been inadequate surpluses and the availability of resources to buy and keep even if the surplus was available.

2022 Mid-Year Budget placed temporary ban on grain export

The 2022 Mid-Year Budget proposed to place a temporary ban on the export of grains with the aim of keeping sufficient supply on the local market.

ISSER said this may have temporary stabilisation impact on local prices, but in the long run it could distort the local markets further, adding, “if farmers receive lower prices because we drove international buyers away they may not be able to prepare for the next production season”.

The budget also suggests that the use of fertilizers is going to be promoted.

“Whilst this sounds good, we should be mindful of the supply side challenges being faced by global producers and begin to think about using our own gas to produce some of these fertilisers locally”, ISSER pointed out,.

It also said the proposed establishment of a Grains Development Authority (GDA) is a good idea, but said “and we should ensure that the GDA becomes a vehicle for raising resources to fill our buffer stocks to cushion us whenever there is crises”.



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