A Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Dr Patrick Opoku Asuming, says that food crisis may be the next major thing that will hit Ghana post Covid-19, if it does not take immediate steps to increase food production in the country.
Speaking at a national economic webinar organised by the Advocates for Christ, Dr Assuming said due to the pandemic all countries around the world are beginning to look inward for their basic needs, and this may most likely affect food export in the world.
He added that should the pandemic be over, it will still take a while before the normal supply chain of food resumes across the world.
A situation, Dr Assuming, says portends a looming danger to food security in Ghana, a country that largely depend on imports for its basic needs.
“Generally we think that agriculture might not be as affected as the services sector, but if we don’t keep our eye on food production what might happen next will be a food crisis”, he said. This looming food crisis, he averted, will hit the urban poor more than those in the rural areas, should it occur.
The Webinar took place on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, and it was themed “Covid-19: How to bring back the Economy; Exploring the impact and Fiscal Policy Options”.
Food prices in Ghana were generally stable prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the country’s case counts began to increase and the need for a lock-down became obvious, people rushed to the markets to buy all the basic food items that they may need in anticipation for the restriction.
This sudden demand shot up prices of certain food items in country like gari, palm kernel, yam, plantain, cassava, rice, maize, among others.
Even though the lock-down has since been lifted, prices are still relatively high. But there is a general expectation that prices may reduce drastically after the pandemic.
This expectation, Dr Patrick Asuming opined, “is being too optimistic” due to the high volumes of food imports that come into the country.
“Even though we have been told that we are doing pretty well when it comes to agriculture because of the planting for food and jobs, the fact still remains that, as a country, we do import a lot of food. We import a lot of rice, poultry and a lot of other things”, he remarked.
By Salifu B.B. Moro