Ghana has been advised to adopt Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach to increase agriculture production, ensure food security, and build climate resilience.
The African continent has also been encouraged to diversify the sector to ensure food sufficiency.
A latest report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on climate science indicates that there are some major transformative steps needed to be taken to address the vulnerability climate change poses to the agricultural sector.
According to the report by the IPCC’s Working Group II on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, agriculture production on the continent slowed by 34 per cent.
Commenting on the Findings, Dr Shaibu Baanni Azumah, an Agriculture Economist, told the Ghana News Agency that climate change impacts, which had been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, were real in Ghana and the whole of Africa and had dire implications on food systems and the economies too.
African leaders, he noted, had not prioritised measures to ameliorate the impact of climate vulnerability.
“We are not food secured because we are not self-sufficient in the production and consumption of maize and rice for instance, which are very important food commodities for most countries.
Climate change impacts is also having a toll and playing a major role in it,” he said.
“As we speak in Ghana, we have a deficit of more than 50 per cent in terms of rice production alone. What that means is that, in terms of our consumption pattern, we can only take care of about 40 per cent.
About 60 per cent of the population will not have it. So, we must either import or we try to find ways by which we can produce to make up for this deficit.”
He said although CSA had been captured under Ghana’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution, it was yet to be implemented under its flagship project -Planting for Food and Jobs.
Dr Azumah proposed to the government to invest in production and distribution of improved seeds, intensification and scientific approaches where nature-based solutions, such as the use of agriculture byproducts, often discarded, to be used to produce organic compost to improve soil fertility.
“For instance, global prices of chemical fertilizer have increased between 2020 and now, and because of the surge of COVID-19, our ability to integrate organic fertilizer will reduce the cost and strengthen our fragile soils, especially in the northern part of Ghana,” he said.
“Last year, the cost of subsidies was down almost nearly 50 per cent and as we speak this year, the government is further slashing down the subsidy. In fact, it is projected that they may not even subsidies up to 20 per cent.”
The Agriculture Economist urged the Government not to pay lip service to agriculture and commit more than 10 per cent to supporting the sector to increase productivity.
He called on the government to implement its industralisation agenda of value addition instead of exporting the raw materials to be processed abroad.
On water utilisation, he suggested to the government to harvest rain water and underground water to give the northern part of the country a second crop season to increase income and halt importation of vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, cucumber from neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, the IPCC report found that dangerous and costly impacts were coming earlier and more widespread and extensive than previously thought and that very significant climate impacts were unavoidable in the near-term.
The report highlighted how development challenges, like poverty and conflict, made certain people even more vulnerable to climate change.
The newest IPCC report offers the definitive scientific foundation on which policymakers should build their action plans for climate resilient development for all.
By Albert Oppong-Ansah, GNA