Agric minister ask donors to increase spending on resilient agro-food systems

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has asked low-income and middle-income countries and international donors to increase their spending on resilient agro-food systems.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture

This was to support climate-smart innovations and financing of agriculture for healthier crops and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) two – zero hunger.

He said due to the growing demand for food and other agricultural commodities, there had been a substantial reliance on the exploitation of resources contained in land, forest, soil, water and environment.

He noted that a continuous use of those natural resources had led to climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.

Mr Akoto said: “For these reasons, I totally support the adoption of climate smart innovation as a means of mitigating agricultural related climate change effects. Hence the call for international donors, as well as low-income and middle-income countries to increase spending on resilient agro food systems over the next 10 years to achieve Zero Hunger and other Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) goals.”

He was speaking at an event in Accra on the theme: “Unlocking the potentials for inclusive, climate-smart innovation and finance for healthier crops, environment and people.”

The event, organised by the Accelerating Impacts of CGIA Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA), proposed some measures by some keynote speakers to manage the climate challenges in the country.

The Minister indicated that  the solution for mitigating against the dire effect of these low outputs of agricultural produce agricultural related climate effects on low crop yield was the adaptation of climate smart innovation in Ghana.

He said the country had lost about 40 per cent of its agricultural produce to frequent and extreme drought and floods over the years.

He added that the situation had resulted in Ghanaian farmers experiencing the effects of climate change, which often rendered land unproductive and reduced yield in major crops.

Dr Akoto was hopeful that initiatives such as the AICCRA smart innovation and climate resistant agriculture would help in improving productivity and protect the livelihoods of Ghanaians.

Dr Stephen Yeboah, a Crop Research Scientist with the Crops Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), called on the Government to provide adequate incentives to farmers to boost their operations.

This, together with capacity building of farmers would result in increased crop yields to prevent any food insecurity in the country as the impact of climate change on agriculture reduces.

He said: “Climate change is affecting food security in Africa, both crops and livestock and there is the need for us to address the issues before our people face starvation.”

He also mentioned that climate change was contributing to price hikes of food crops in the country as dams dried up due to harsh climatic conditions, making it difficult for irrigation: a veritable process for crop cultivation all year around.

He recommended that farmers be given improved seeds that could stand the climate change, with enough financial and technical know-how to navigate through those unfavourable climate conditions.

Mr Christopher Mawuli Gaitu, Deputy Director, Plant Protection and Regulation Service Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, asked farmers to make pest management practice part of their farming practices and keep diseases at bay.

He explained that if farmers became aware of the accidental outbreak of pest diseases, it would cushion them from unexpected outbreak of pest diseases that also affected their yield.

He urged farmers to adopt best biological control practices to manage pest diseases and avoid too much residue, resulting from excessive use of fertilizers.

By Francis Ntow, GNA



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