Food Security means that all people at all times have physical & economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate foods, which are produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially Just manner, and that people are able to make Informed decisions about their food choices. Food Security also means that the people who produce our food are able to earn a decent, living wage growing, catching, producing, processing, transporting, retailing, and serving food. At the core of food security is access to healthy food and optimal nutrition for el.
Food access is closely linked to food supply, so food security is dependent on a healthy and sustainable food system. The food system Includes the production, processing, distribution, marketing, acquisition, and consumption of food. Hunger on the faces of many people, signs of malnutrition evident in kwashiorkor, anemic and stunted growth children in many parts of the country, the many preventable and avoidable diseases that kill children In this part of the world Indicate that as a country we need an intervention to improve our food security.
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food” (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2009: 1). Food Insecurity, on the other hand, “occurs when food systems are stressed so that food Is not accessible, available, and of sufficient quality” (Bumpier and Ford, 2006: 196). In Ghana, the highest incidence of food insecurity is found in dry Savannah areas, comprising the Upper East, upper West and Northern Regions.
While food insecurity rates hover around one to seven percent In southern Ghana, rates are between 10-30 recent In the north (Blackballed and Rivers, 2009: 13). Paradoxically, households producing food crops are often the casualties of food insecurity in northern Ghana (Biofeedback and Rivers, 2009). The incidence of food insecurity, however, is not a new phenomenon in these regions.
A close examination of the historical literature demonstrates that hunger featured prominently In early colonial narratives, with reports showing poor harvests and famine in the northern territories of the Gold Coast [now northern Ghana] (National Archives of Ghana, 1911; 1939). Early anthropological research also reported widespread malnutrition and undernourishment In northern China throughout the late colonial period (Cardinal, 1921: 85; Hart, 1978: 194-209). Since the magnitude of food insecurity in the northern regions has been recorded since colonial times, awareness of the problem and policy attempts to remedy it go back some ways.
The purpose of this backgrounder is to briefly examine these policy responses in both the historic and contemporary contexts. Such an assessment Is critical, not only to show how attempts have been made to achieve food security in northern Ghana, but to examine the sequence in which such policies have occurred, why they did or did not succeed, and what season can be drawn for the future. Structural Adjustment Period (1983-1992) In 1983, Shania’s economy was near a complete collapse. The country was going through one of its most severe periods of drought and famine in its history.
The 1 OFF rate of Gross Domestic Products (GAP) had fallen to 0. 4 percent and the nation was in serious debt to the tune of $1 billion USED (Gonads-Gamesman, 2000: 473; Gonads- mans and Danna, 2003: 515). The government therefore negotiated for a World Bank and International Monetary Fund (MIFF) Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) to reshape the economy. Commitment in official development assistance from the Nor Bank and MIFF totaled over IIS$I . 4 billion, with several conditions (Pearce, 1992).
In the agricultural sector, a major policy focus was the deregulation of both input and output markets. The prices of most agricultural chemicals were increased n excess of 40 percent per annum between 1986 and 1992 (Assuming-Prepping, 1994). In 1990, the government eliminated guaranteed minimum prices paid to farmers for food crops such as maize and rice. Subsidies on agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers, were removed in June 1992 and their importation and marketing privatized in August that same year (Anteing and Seine, 2000).
Private agents’ involvement in the distribution and marketing of fertilizer led to higher prices and raised production costs for farmers. These effects were more severe for smallholder maize and rice farmers in northern Ghana where fertilizer use was common as a result of poor soils (Alderman and Shivery, 1996). Farming households in northern Shania who grew non-export crops suffered significantly due to their inability to compete in the market. Farmers engaged in export agriculture found it easier to obtain credit facilities than those producing food crops in the northern parts of the entry (Washman, 1990).
The removal of tariffs, as part of SAPS, also depressed domestic food production by exposing local farmers to ruinous competition from foreign producers. An example was the influx of cheap subsidized rice from United States, Australia and Europe. As a result of these detrimental effects, many smallholders abandoned farming completely. Those who continued to farm preferred to use more fertile lands for the production of non-traditional export crops such as cashew, rather than for producing local staples (Government of Ghana [GO], 1999).
A World Bank report in 1993 confirmed these hardships, especially on northern farmers, stating that “the deleterious effect on incomes (and welfare) may have been more severe among households in northern Ghana where agricultural production is based largely on food crops” From 1993 to Present In the period after structural adjustment, the most relevant policies and programs in relation to agriculture and food security are contained in three key documents.