Former president John Kuffour has said arming grassroots farmers with the tools and education to practice agriculture that responds to the challenge of climate change is key to enhancing food security.
Speaking at this year’s World Food Day on the theme – Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth” – Mr Kuffour said there was a need to develop “climate-smart agriculture” to ensure that agricultural production and productivity are enhanced for food security and to boost farmers income, while protecting the environment.
Mr Kuffuor said however: “It should be clear that the smallholder farmer cannot himself achieve the above because he hasn’t got the mastery of science and technology, finance and public policy to cater for all the necessary inputs required.
“Thus it is critical for government to work with the family farmer to close the gap.”
He said some of the things that needed to be put in place to make the aspiration of the family farmer feeding the world a reality included:
- Institutional reforms that strengthen land rights, particularly favoring women
- Participation of farmers in policy-making
- Integrated approach to rural development targeting roads, access to water, health and sanitation
- Access to finance and credit
- Robust mechanisms for disseminating research outcomes to farmers
- ICT-led access to market prices
- Timely metereological information; and
- Access to improved seedlings, approved pesticides and fertilizers.
Ghana is predominantly an agricultural economy, with up to 50 per cent of people depending on forests and forestry products for their livelihoods.
This year’s theme was chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers.
It focuses world attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources and protecting the environment in particular in rural areas.
World Food Day was declared in 1979 by the United Nations in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.