Review on the Role of Underutilized Crops in Achieving Food Security in Ghana: Implications for Policy
Food security globally is constrained by several factors including the heavy reliance on very few key staple crops. In Africa over dependence on a few major crops remain a major challenge due to its potential impact and contribution to food security. This review explores the potential contribution of underutilized crops to the attainment of food security. The paper also explores the relevance of a specific policy provision that promotes the use of underutilized crops. In Ghana the challenge of food insecurity still remains a major concern, particularly in the three northern regions. The 2009 Comprehensive Food Security & Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA) report revealed that food insecurity in Ghana is a challenge particularly in the areas most prone to adverse weather conditions, such as floods and droughts, which are also the poorest regions of the country. In Ghana, as in many African countries considerable attention has not been given to the impact of underutilized crops and plant species on food security. This is evidenced by the 2013 Accra Statement for a food secure Africa report, which identified most countries in Africa, including Ghana, as pursuing agricultural and food policies based on a limited number of crops or staples such as maize and rice. The review showed that Ghana currently lacks a comprehensive policy, on the use of underutilized crops. A specific policy that will ensure the promotion and use of underutilized crops in Ghana, is suggested.