Foreign Rice Does Our Bodies No Good, Eat Local Rice -Dr. Nduom To Ghanaians | Business News |

Source: Foreign Rice Does Our Bodies No Good, Eat Local Rice -Dr. Nduom To Ghanaians | Business News |

It’s taken a bit to comment on this news item because of other commitments but news about food, and/or the lack of it, just seems to get my writing juices flowing. This intervention from Dr Nduom is apt and timely. I suggest the government embarks upon a massive and elaborate campaign to encourage Ghanaians to eat local, to patronise locally produced food – and we have a lot of that. To go hand-in-hand with this campaign must be a genuine effort by the government to also protect local produce from cheap foreign imports, either by restricting import licences or imposing local development tax on such imports in order make locally-produced food items competitive on the local market. This is done everywhere by governments to protect their local producers. The government must consider these measures very seriously, otherwise the much lauded Planting for Food and Jobs Program which appears pivotal to the new Government’s economic and national developemt plans for the next four years will not achieve the expected effect.

Ghana is so blessed; every climactic/ecological zone in the coutry supports a range of crops that serve as the food base for the peoples of these regions. As farming is being accorded the importance in the economy that it so clearly demands, effort must be geared towards increasing efficiency on the land. This will involve adopting improved production methods all through from land preparation, through planting and harvesting to post-harvest storage till the food reaches the market. Improved seed varieties, fertilizers and the chemicals needed to protect the plants from disease and insect attack should all be available and affordable to farmers as part of a technology package that should boost roductivity. Increased productivity and an available and accessible market will make farming a profitable option for the young, whether educated or not.

For many a developed nation, this has been the path to development where large gains in agricultural productivity and efficiency has released the extra manpower for expanding industry and services.  We can do it too if we put our collective minds to it but first, our immediate goal must be to be able to feed ourselves, for it is unconscionable that with millions of square miles of lush arable land, plentiful supplies of water and a burgeoning youth unemployment, Ghana should should have a food import bill of US$2.2 billion (1). The time to fix that anomaly is now.

Posted in Africa, African Development, African Economy, African Poverty, Agriculture, Eat local, Famine, Food, Food issues, Ghana, Ghana Agriculture, Ghana development, Ghana rural development, Planting for Food and Jobs, Rural development, Sustainable Development | Leave a comment

“Crazy” to import poultry and rice.

Source: Ghana should not import poultry, rice – Israeli Ambassador

During a recent visit to an agricultural facility in the Western region of Ghana, the Israeli ambassador (to Ghana and Liberia) reportedly expressed shock at the amount of money spent importing rice into Ghana, describing it as “crazy.”

Crazy indeed. Why should Ghana be importing food? With large tracts of lush uncultivated land, a large and growing population of unemployed youth, a large and rapidly growing market, Ghana has all the ingredients for a very vibrant agricultural sector. Yet last year, the food import bill was reported to be US$2.1 billion. Yes, that is the bill for a single year, and Ghana did import 70% of the rice requirement for that year!  The potential for agriculture to lead our development effort is absolutely massive. According to one estimate, Ghana could be earning upwards of $10 billion a year from oil palm exports alone! And how much did Ghana contract in loans? It is almost like sitting on a pot of gold and begging for alms.

For a country that has >50% of it’s eligible labour force directly engaged in agriculture, you would think that it will become obvious to the leadership that the development of the agricultural sector holds the key to our economic development.  Of all the routes to economic development available to us, that through agricultural development seems the most logical and perhaps the less daunting. All it requires is leadership with a plan. So, Mr Ambassador well said. It is hoped that those at the helm of affairs and who have the ability to act will do so in the interest of our dear country.

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Ghana News – Ghana could have been earning $10b annually from PSI on oil palm if…- Alan

Ghana News – Ghana could have been earning $10b annually from PSI on oil palm if…- Alan.

This interview gives me hope. That at least there are people in leadership positions in Ghana who are asking the right questions. It’s always baffled me that Ghana should be where it is developmentally. It is painful watching news programs that depict the very sorry and desperate state of the country – the one that irks me most is the state of the roads (if they can be so called) to the hinterland where the food needed to feed the population is produced (yet we spend the ‘scarce’ foreign currency to import food). I did go to school in a very remote part of Brong-Ahafo in the early 1970s. It saddens me that our school buildings then were safer, more presentable and offered a more conducive  environment for teaching and learning than some of the places being used as schools in the country today. There really is no reason a child should go to school under a tree in Ghana today!

It’s more than 50 years since we gained independence and yet we haven’t made these basic shifts in our national development. Our collective consciousness hasn’t woken to to the fact that our continued reliance on one (at best two) commodity as our main export earner is just ludicrous. The initiatives talked about in this interview sound so promising one is left to wonder why the next government abandoned those projects. Perhaps in due time we would learn why.

Posted in Africa, African Development, African Economy, African Poverty, Agriculture, Famine, Food issues, Ghana, Ghana development, Rural development, Sustainable Development, Uncategorized, World development | Leave a comment

Ghana Has Ability To Feed Europe – Alhassan Andani | Business News |

Ghana Has Ability To Feed Europe – Alhassan Andani | Business News |

Well said, Mr Andani!

There really is no reason why Ghana, and for that matter many other African countries, should be where they are, economically. The funny thing is, everyone knows this. We talk about it often, in our conversations and on the airwaves – how we are blessed with abundant land and water resources, and indeed, we do have sunlight all year round. Yet often we have had to rely on food imports, sometimes on the charity of other nations by way of food aid, to feed our citizenry.

“Ghana is…….. only six hours flight away from the UK and Europe. We should be the vegetable basket for Europe. ….We have the ability to produce literally every vegetable that is eaten in Europe.”

Great observation.

But why are Ghanaians not taking advantage of this obvious opportunity, or in Mr Andani’s words, walking their talk? This is the question, or rather one of a myriad of questions, that should occupy national policy wonks.

Posted in Africa, African Development, African Economy, African Poverty, Agriculture, Economic Exploitation, Famine, Food issues, GM Food, Sustainable Development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment South Africa: Genetically Modified Foods – Let the Science Speak South Africa: Genetically Modified Foods – Let the Science Speak.

Fairly balanced article, although it is obvious the writer has pro-GM sympathies. I do like the fact that the writer, whilst extolling the virtues and potential benefits of GM, also admits there is still a lot we do not understand about the technology and the products coming out of it. Some questions remain as to the long-term impact on the environment, the deployment of patented GM seed in peasant agriculture and a host of others. But then is there any technology out there that doesn’t have unanswered questions. Continual scientific experimentation and evidence gathering, perhaps involving independent institutions and the transparent sharing of such evidence will help allay many of the fears of the public.

Posted in Africa, African Development, African Poverty, Agriculture, Famine, Food issues, GM Food, Sustainable Development | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment Ethiopia: Agribusiness Silently Erodes Agriculture Ethiopia: Agribusiness Silently Erodes Agriculture.

Interesting read. I have time to comment on a couple of issues:

1. Agriculture vs Agribusiness: The distinction being created here is wholly virtual. Does not exist. Agriculture has always been a business. Even in the developing world, with the small-scale, no peasant farmer, it is and has always been a business.  For the peasant farmer, that is their only business – their main occupation, often their only source of income and thus what they rely upon to provide for their families. Perhaps if farmers did really see it as a business, like their cousin who operates the corner shop, African farming won’t be in the desperate situation it has been.

2. Decrease in seed diversity. This is not a recent phenomenon. One could say it started right from when certain species were selected from the wild for domestication in early settler agriculture. And since then, the farmer has improved upon their stock by selecting the best performing plants to propagate the next crop.

Hybrid seed took crop improvement to a whole new level and allowed for the great increases in food productivity beginning the early 1930s. Yes it did result in uniform plants, but this in turn allowed for mechanization practices that produced the massive increases in food production. And it is this that has allowed a smaller proportion of the populations in the industrialized world to produce enough food to feed their growing populations and to export to others. It is the considered opinion of many that this was where the developing world, Africa in particular, fell behind – in the adoption of hybrid technology.

Genetic diversity is important but with the perennial food shortages and famines that have plagued our continent, perhaps we should start thinking outside the box.

Posted in Africa, African Development, African Poverty, Agriculture, Famine, Food issues, GM Food, Sustainable Development | Leave a comment

BBC News – Half of all food ‘wasted’ report claims

BBC News – Half of all food ‘wasted’ report claims.

The bulk of it in Europe and the USA. Meanwhile there are 870 million undernourished people around the world today .  Yes, one in eight of us do not get enough food to be healthy. Hunger and malnutrition are the biggest risk to health worldwide – yep, greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis put together!!!

Posted in Africa, African Development, African Poverty, Food issues, World, World development | Leave a comment