A Civil Society Organization, Agency for Health and Food Security (AHEFS) has proposed a functional value chain policy in vegetable production to fast-track economic growth while achieving food security to meet the growing demands of the African continent.
The group says, its findings show that Ghana’s vegetable sector has largely been affected by fragmented value chain linkages and weak coordination between and among value chain actors – a situation which is hampering continental trade and food sufficiency.
In its 2020 communiqué on a systems approach to vegetable value chain policy, pandemic response and AfCFTA Agreement, AHEFS noted that: “Public perceptions and awareness of the importance of vegetables in nutrition and health is poor. Governance, M&E and funding arrangement across the phases of commodity value chains are not adequately documented and supported. Urgent action to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture within the vegetable sector is, therefore, extremely crucial.”
According to the food security think tank, the positive contribution of a vegetable value chain policy will go a long way to meet the increasing demand for adequate, safe, nutritious and affordable food for consumers in Ghana and beyond.
“We underline that vegetable value chain policy hinged on coordinated food systems and healthy lifestyles must produce adequate quantities of safe, nutritious and affordable food and reduce loss and waste to fight hunger and malnutrition in all its forms. We express our firm conviction that a vegetable value chain policy and support systems can facilitate trade, improve health outcomes, promote food security and reduce poverty”, it noted.
AHEFS believes that value chain policy should form part of a larger interactive, coordinated, integrated and coherent strategy towards improved sustainability of agriculture and food systems that are responsive to the needs of the various phases of vegetable commodity value chains.
“We, therefore, call on Government to create and support a functional value chain policy that optimizes the use of land and water resources to guarantee continuous productivity, coordinate activities of small-holder farmers, input dealers, processors, certification bodies, aggregators, cold-chain / warehouse / packhouse operators, marketers, exporters, behavioural change agents including civil society organizations in agriculture and further provide varied funding mechanisms that are crop-specific and dedicated to particular phases of the value chain at competitive rates”, the group maintained.
Other calls for actions included fostering local and continental demand for horticultural commodities as well as as a coordinated supply-centred support system.