The government has pledged to contribute 2000 tonnes of maize and rice in equal proportion towards the stocking of the Regional Food Security Reserve (RFSR) by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of annual crops, Dr Sagre Bambangi, who announced this, said the move for the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) to lead the process was to demonstrate the country’s commitment to help sustain the regional food reserve following the expiration of the European Union (EU) five-year support programme.
He was speaking at the opening session of a two-day national sensitisation workshop on the RFSR in Accra last Wednesday.
The workshop was organised by the NAFBSCO in collaboration with ECOWAS and meant to discuss the RFSR, stock mutualisation and reconciliation.
Participants in the workshop included officials of ECOWAS, state regulatory agencies, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), farmer organisations and development partners.
The workshop also commenced discussions on the formulation of two documents — Procedure Manual and National policy.
The procedure manual highlights inventory management procedures transcription of good practices of code of conduct of stock procedure while the national policy document will be based on the regional guidelines on storage policies.
Dr Bambangi signed the cooperation framework for the Network of Structures for the Management of National Food Security Stocks in the Sahel and West Africa (RESOGEST), the document guiding the holding of stocks and its management by ECOWAS member countries currently holding stocks for RFSR.
The signing formalised the support of NAFSCO to a regional solidarity mechanism that strengthens the capacity of ECOWAS to manage food crisis.
Ghana’s ratification brings to 16 the number of countries that have signed the cooperation framework.
Dr Bambangi reiterated the commitment of the government to support regional efforts that would ensure food security and make agriculture the backbone of the national and regional economy.
“If a country jumps the gun by not prioritising investment in agriculture and wants to industrialise, it will fail because it will not have the foundation to rest on,” he stressed.
The Head of Technical Unit and Reserve Management at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources of ECOWAS, Dr Emmanuel Koffi Gle, commended Ghana for making the commitment of 2000 tonnes of cereals to the RFSR and also signing the cooperation framework.
The Team Lead and Head of Operations at NAFCO, Mr Kofi Amankwah, made a presentation on “ECOWAS, food security and the RFSR initiative, stressing the need for all countries in the region to support the food reserve because of its enormous importance.
“In August, 2018, NAFCO received a letter from ECOWAS requesting us to sell the product of 2,750 tonnes of grains, comprising 1,000 tonnes of maize, 750 tonnes of rice and 500 tonnes each of sorghum and millet to the public and replace them to avoid degradation of the nutritional value.
“We made a request to use the grains and replace them and ECOWAS handed it over to us on December 28, 2018 and NAFCO is in the process of replacing it,” he said. – GraphicOnline