ActionAid Ghana (AAG), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has urged the Government to, as a matter of urgency, address the ever-increasing food prices to protect women and children.
The Organisation said the Government must take policy measures to subsidise food accessibility to low-income people, particularly women and children.
The NGO further called on the Government to increase social protection safety nets and other measures to improve the income of people in urban and rural areas to cope with the increasing food prices.
World Food Safety Day
Mr John Nkaw, Country Director, ActionAid Ghana, in a statement to commemorate World Food Safety Day, said the Government must invest in building national food reserves to act as buffers and reduce vulnerability to food shortages and price rises.
The rising price of food has had disproportional impacts on people living in poverty, particularly women and children.
It is also critical in humanitarian crises, particularly with the worsening climate-induced drought in the Horn of Africa where over 14 million people are facing severe hunger and water shortages.
In the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, other humanitarian crises, including those in Africa are not receiving enough economic, political and public support.
In addition to that, there are currently 100 million low-income urban dwellers who are hard hit by the rising food prices, many of them in women-headed households.
People on the continent are already grappling with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is placing women and girls at increased risk of gender-based violence and exploitation – as always happens in times of hunger.
Therefore, ActionAid Ghana said it was concerned, as an organisation that stood in solidarity with the poor, by the increases in food prices, which had already reached record highs since the beginning of the Ukraine war.
“The war in Ukraine is seriously disrupting the food supply chain. African countries are major trading partners with Russia and Ukraine for supplies of wheat, edible oil and fertilizer. Half of the grains distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) through its food support programmes come from Ukraine and Russia,” the statement added.
It, therefore, urged the Government to scale-up support to smallholder farmers, especially women smallholders and sustainable agroecological approaches to farming to enable farmers to improve soil fertility for crop production, without the use of expensive fossil-fuel chemical fertilizers.
Government, ActionAid said, needed to, in the medium term, accelerate climate justice as a continental and international priority as climate change was expected to drive 122 million more people into poverty by 2030.
“We also call on Government to engage and remind the European Union (EU), USAID, and all other donors and the wider public, of the importance of adequately supporting the humanitarian crises in our continent,” it stated.
Africans in Ukraine
It further called for greater action by the Government to monitor the ill-treatment of Africans in Ukraine and neighbouring countries and engage with the EU in ensuring the respect and fulfilment of peoples’ human rights, including racial discrimination and abuse.
It also appealed to governments to resist any pressures to impose austerity policies and cuts to public spending – which too often were recommended by the International Monetary Funds in response to rising prices.
“In the face of the current conflict, the climate crisis and COVID-19, African countries need to invest more, not less, in gender-responsive public services,” it said.
It suggested that instead of austerity, the Government must invest in ambitious and progressive tax reforms that passed the burden on to those richest individuals and companies who were most able to pay.