Agriculture and Food Security in Ghana

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Darfour, Bernard
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Rosentrater, Kurt
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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In Ghana, large-scale farms and plantations produce mainly oil palm, rubber and coconut and to a lesser extent, maize, rice and pineapples. Ghana produces 51% of its cereal needs, 60% of fish requirements, 50% of meat, and less than 30% of the raw materials needed for agro-based industries. Gross domestic product has grown between 4 and 8 percent annually over the past decade, and agricultural growth has been the major driver of poverty reduction. The agriculture sector is the largest source of employment for Ghanaians and is dominated by smallholder farmers. The challenges in the agriculture sector are in the dimensions of diversity in agro-ecology and constraints including human resource and managerial skills, natural resource management, technology development and food insecurity. Food security is a complex phenomenon resulting from multiple causes which are food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food stability. About 5% of Ghana’s population are food insecure and about 2 million people are vulnerable to become food insecure. Agricultural growth has been more rapid than growth in the non-agricultural sectors in recent years, expanding by an average annual rate of 5.5%, compared to 5.2% for the economy as a whole. However, agricultural growth heavily depends on rainfall patterns and current growth is still driven by land expansion. The objective of this paper was to review literature on the general agricultural trends and challenges in Ghana. Food insecurity, and some policy plans to reduce food insecurity were also highlighted.


This paper is from 2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Paper No. 162460507, pages 1-11 (doi: 10.13031/aim.20162460507). St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE.. Posted with permission.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016