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Business News of Monday, 25 May 2020


AU moves to tackle food insecurity amidst coronavirus impact

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Ghana has made a commitment to safeguard food security when it participated in the recent African Union (AU) virtual dialogue of Ministers of Agriculture to evaluate the implications of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on food security on the continent.

This was after an assessment carried out by the AU indicated that the anti-coronavirus pandemic measures such as nationwide lockdowns and border closures compounded food shortages while restrictions on movement and quarantine measures also impeded crop calendars and farmers’ access to markets.

The dialogue which was organized by the AU’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) proposed that it was imperative to safeguard all input supply chains for small-scale agricultural producers, poultry, and livestock in the context of COVID-19 in Africa.

The Department further insisted that there should be in place measures aimed at supporting domestic markets during the COVID-19 outbreak as well as enabling countries to take the needed advantage of the mechanism of the newly created African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has prompted food insecurity on the continent, with some countries already experiencing rising prices, panic-buying and import-export disruptions.

Given that Ghana is largely an import-driven economy, the continuous impact of COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have dire consequences on the country’s international trade and reserves.

Briefing the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) of the AU on measures being taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on food security, the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ambassador Josefa Sacko, noted that the COVID-19 health crisis had brought on an economic crisis that is rapidly aggravating an ongoing food security and nutrition crisis.

“It is pertinent that Africa must not move from a health crisis to a food crisis as a result of the worsening trend by COVID-19,” she added.