Oxfam, GTLC launch GROW Campaign

An Oxfam-led global campaign, which aims to promote sustainable agriculture while increasing food supply has been launched at Nyariga in the Upper East Region.

Dubbed GROW, the campaign being championed by Oxfam in collaboration with other organizations including, Ghana Trades and Livelihood Coalition, is also seeking to find ways through which productive resources would be equitably allocated.

It also seeks to involve all stakeholders, especially the Government, to work at increasing food production and reducing poverty sustainably.

Launching the campaign, Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, Coordinator of the Coalition, said small-scale crop farmers continued to bear the brunt of food insecurity because of low productivity, seasonal variability in food supply and price volatility.

He said farmers, who faced the challenges of nutritional insecurity had the limited capacity to respond to agriculture programmes.

Besides, poor rural infrastructure limits the effective production, processing and distribution of food, and lowers producer prices.

Mr Akalbila said the current rush by big companies to acquire productive lands was affecting the livelihoods of poor women and men and contributing to their inability to feed themselves and their families.

While women contributed about 70 percent of total food consumed, he said, they continued to face discrimination as they did not enjoy the same rights as men.

In Ghana, only 10 percent of Ghanaian households women owned land as opposed to 23 percent in the case of men and the average value of land holdings for men are almost three times higher.

Mr Akalbila said these challenges called for investments in smallholder farmers through increasing their knowledge to enable them to adopt environmentally sustainable farming method through participatory design.

He said the investments must be demand-driven, but also include value chain expansion incorporating stakeholder empowerment and instruments for better risk management.

“In sum, investment must aim to reduce poverty, respond to the needs of the poor, promote environmental sustainability, and empower women and rural communities to build sustainable rural livelihoods.
Indicators of success for government and development partners must be measured against these criteria,” he said.

Mr Akalbila said government must also scale up and allocate 10 per cent of the annual budget to agriculture in line with the Maputo agreement while public and donor investments were made predictable, transparent, untied and channeled through sector wide approach and budget support.

He said there was also the need for Government to stop the land grab for agro-fuel farms and plantations at the expense of food production, and called on banks to invest in and engage with small scale food producers to promote sustainable and inclusive agriculture.

Mr Mohammed-Anwar Sadat Adam, Oxfam GB Agriculture Advocacy Manager, urged all stakeholders to support the initiative to ensure a sustainable and productive future for the next generation.

Source: GNA

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