By Afia Nyarko Asare
The Chief Executive Officer of Abosomakotre Co-operative Credit Union (ACCU), Mr.Prosper Aforbu has revealed that Post-harvest losses has been reduced to the barest minimum in Techiman and most villages within the Bono East Region.
Speaking to Micro Watch in an interview, he narrated that post-harvest loses has been a major setback in the financial development of farmers in Ghana with emphasis on most villages in Bono East.
“In order to ensure food security, we took the matter up and addressed the problem from the basis. We first provided soft loans at very low interest rate to seed growers to enable them purchase fertilizers and other farm implements.
Furthermore, in order to complete the chain, ACCU saw the need to provide soft loans at very low interest rates to individuals and groups to purchase articulated trucks. This help transport farm produce from remote villages in the region to the urban areas and also silos to preserve harvests”, he explained.
Food is a basic need of life which one cannot do without so food security is necessary to ensure that there is the availability of food and people can access it and the farmers can earn enough to improve their financial lives.
The World Food Programme (WFP) define food security as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Thus, a household is considered food secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is of the view that food security is the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods that one can acquire in a socially acceptable ways (that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies).
Food security also take into consideration the stability of food where the people can frequently obtain food. Also, the affordability and allocation of food as well as the preference of individuals and households. Finally, the even flow of supply of food through production, distribution and exchange.
Over the years, climate change, rapid population growth, wars, the rise of food prices, environmental stressors, land degradation, water crisis have had a significant impact on food security worldwide.
According to the United States Agriculture Department (USDA) about 870 million people around the world do not have access to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe foods while about 17,000 children die of hunger and malnutrition related diseases every day, which equals 6 million children who die of hunger every year.
United Nations (UN) has estimated that, the demand for food will increase from 70 to 100 per cent by 2050 therefore adaptation strategies and other measures are been put in place to alleviate food insecurities globally.
Since 2010, USDA has aligned appropriate programs to feed the Future plans to support agriculture development in certain countries in Southern Asia, Africa and Central America. And the food aid programs has benefited about 34 million individuals across the world.
Also, the WFP closely monitor the food security rate in every country that it operates to quickly identify insecurity emergencies and provide actionable food security information to policy makers and stakeholders.
In Ghana, enormous progress has been made over the past two decades to reduce poverty and hunger among its populace. However, improvements at the national level hides the huge gap between the north parts and south parts of the country, as well as the rural and urban areas.
According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), about 1.2 million people representing 5 percent of the population are food insecure and about 2 million people are also vulnerable to become food in secure. Most of them are in the Upper West followed by Upper East regions.
Therefore, if other corporate institutions will emulate the post-harvest loss prevention strategy of ACCU, food security will be assured and farmers will earn decent money and agriculture will become attractive to the youth.