The major problem in Ghana with respect to food security, which has necessitated an ever rising increment in food importation, has to do with a seemingly insatiable gap between demand and supply and the strengthening of the value chain. This gap is no longer chiefly brought about by inadequacy, but rather by a quality disparity that exists between imported foods and their counterparts produced locally. The major stakeholders and the government are looking for ways to partner with investors outside the country to improve agri-business through modern technology, to ensure food security in meeting international requirements. The Agricultural and Horticultural value chain in Ghana and many other African countries faces several sincere challenges. These challenges will affect the food security and economical sustainability of (small scale) farmers.
For centuries, farmers in Africa have skillfully operated their own informal seed systems. They save seeds from one year’s crop for planting in the next and share seeds through community networks. Many have worked like plant breeders in research laboratories, combining different varieties to obtain desirable traits and collaborating with other farmers to expand their knowledge. Despite this impressive ingenuity, the performance of local varieties of maize, cassava, millet, and other African food staples now lags far behind the rest of the world. More importantly, this yield gap is a key reason farmers in Africa are not producing enough food to sustain the continent’s rapidly growing population. Lack and availability of good seeds will affect the yield and harvest output of farmers.
Another challenge in the value chain is harvest waste or Post-Harvest wastage. Post-Harvest waste is one of the reasons for food security challenges in Ghana as a Country. Apart from reducing the food commodities available for consumption, farmers are short-changed by their inability to obtain revenues from the wasted commodities. Around 40% to 50% of the total food production of fresh produce in Ghana get lost; this due to inefficient harvesting, processing and storage techniques. Locally produced foodstuffs, vegetables and fruits will continue to be beyond the reach of many Ghanaians, as long as there is lack of storage facility for farm produce in the country. This is responsible for the cheap price of food products at harvesting periods, only to go beyond the reach of the citizens few months later.
The third challenge is the marketing and selling of the products. This is also part of the Post-Harvest Management. One of the solutions could be to collaborate with a project that stimulates market system changes that encourage growth and access; resulting in the creation of new jobs and increased incomes for the people, especially for the poor, rural dwellers, and for women. This approach will implement initiatives, which will provide solutions to underlying market constraints.
Opportunities for Ghanaian and Dutch Private Sector
The Agribusiness sector is huge in its variety and only several opportunities are mentioned:
- Innovation in Agribusiness
- Financial and logistical services
- Joint Ventures
- Training and education
- Export potential by airfreight and conditional sea freight
- Availability of commercial Agro-projects with focus on development
- Conservation and processing from Pre to Post-harvest
- Protected agriculture (seeds, irrigation, greenhouses etc.)
- Feed production (technology)
- Slaughter and Processing (technology)
- Vaccines and drugs