Ghana

GIEWS Country Brief: Ghana: 15-April-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Planting of 2020 main season maize ongoing in south under normal weather conditions

  • Record cereal production estimated in 2019

  • Increasing maize prices following high demand

  • Food assistance needed for vulnerable people

Start of 2020 cropping season in south follows timely onset of rains

Following the timely onset of seasonal rains in the south, planting of yams was completed in March, while planting of maize is ongoing and will be completed by the end of April. Harvesting operations of both yams and maize crops are expected to start in August. Planting of the rice crop, to be harvested from September, is underway. Cumulative rainfall amounts since early March were average to above average in most planted areas and supported the development of yams, rice and maize crops. Weeding activities are normally progressing in most cropped areas. In the north, seasonal dry weather conditions are still prevailing and planting operations for millet and sorghum, to be harvested from October, are expected to begin in May‑June with the onset of the rains.

Despite the ongoing pastoral lean season, forage availability was overall satisfactory in April in the main grazing areas of the country. The domestic livestock seasonal return movement from the south to the north started in early March due to the normal onset of the rains in the south. The animal health situation is generally good and stable, with just some localized outbreaks of seasonal diseases, including Newcastle disease, Anthrax and African Swine Fever in pigs. In June 2019, the Government launched a programme, “Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ)” aiming to boost productivity and income from pastoral production.

Record 2019 cereal crop harvested

Harvesting activities of the 2019 rainfed and irrigated crops was completed by end‑January. Favourable rainfall across the country and an adequate supply of inputs delivered by the Government through the RFJ programme benefited the 2019 national cereal production, estimated at 4.1 million tonnes, about 40 percent above the five‑year average. The 2019 harvest included 2.7 million tonnes of maize (45 percent above average) and 900 000 tonnes of paddy (over 30 percent above average). The increase in the production resulted from the implementation of the key Government RFJ programme aiming to achieve self‑sufficiency in food production. The RFJ programme has enrolled 600 000 smallholder farmers since its implementation in 2018, providing seeds, fertilizers and extension services. The target is expected to reach 1.5 million farmers by the end of 2020. In addition, in 2019, through the Regional and District Directors of the Department of Agriculture, the Government also increased the level of control and monitoring of the Fall Armyworm infestations, bringing the overall situation under control.

Following the record 2019 production, cereal import requirements for the 2019/20 (November/October) marketing year are forecast at a below‑average level of 1.5 million tonnes.

Increasing maize prices following high demand

The supply of major food commodities (maize and rice) is generally satisfactory for most markets due to adequate food availabilities from the recent harvests and imports from the international markets. However, prices of maize increased in most markets in March due to the strong seasonal demand by local traders and institutions for restocking, by households for domestic consumption and seeds, and by industries for animal feed production.

Food assistance needed for vulnerable people

Despite the overall favourable food security conditions, most vulnerable households need external food assistance. According to the March 2020 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 22 000 people were estimated to need food assistance during the lean season between June and August 2020.

COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government

In view of the evolving COVID‑19 situation, the Government has decreed a total lockdown and a State‑wide confinement in the most affected cities by the virus outbreak, including Tema, Accra and Kumassi. The Government has also taken some sanitary, social and economic measures and decided to close all land borders. Official restrictions on population movements, combined with heightened levels of fear, have led many people to avoid leaving their homes. Although these measures have not affected the access to food, further restrictions on population movements could hamper the access to land and have a consequent negative impact on the 2020 agricultural production.