The Director General of International Food Policy and Research Institute, (IFPRI) says one way Ghana can attain food and nutritional security is by opening its borders and allowing free movements of people, goods and investments.
Shenggen Fan says a well harmonized free movement of people and goods within the West African sub-region will enable Ghana and its neighbours attain self-sufficiency in food production.
“People move from labour surplus region to labour demanding region so people can work in [the] agriculture sector to produce much-needed food for everybody,” he said.
“Ghana could trade [with] its neighbours, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire and many countries to share what they don’t have with what they have. By doing that, the food security in Ghana, in Nigeria will be able to improve.”
He told JoyNews’ Adelaide Arthur at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in Sweden where IFPRI launched its 2018 Global Food Policy Report that “before you trade with the Europeans, with Chinese, you should trade with your neighbours.”
Among the key factors that hinder achievement of food sufficiency within countries are travel restrictions, the latest Global Food Policy Report suggests.
It draws a link between migration and the ability of migrants to enjoy a high standard of living, noting that “voluntary migration is positively associated with greater food security for migrants and for the families that remain behind”.
Food and nutrition security are, therefore, threatened when borders are tightened.
The report comes even as anti-immigration policies are on the rise in host nations at a time when millions of people from African and Middle Eastern countries are fleeing conflict and economic hardships.
Conservatives and nationalists in western countries often cite security reasons for cutting back on immigration numbers but according to the Director General of IFPRI, these politically motivated arguments for immigration restrictions are not supported be evidence. “It is not true that migrants are terrorists…we cannot use that as an excuse to close the border.
“If we close the border and people cannot move, hungry people, malnourished people will suffer in their hometown,” Mr Fan added.
What is, however, supported by evidence, according to the Global Food Policy Report, is the fact that host countries benefit as much as migrants as local economies improve.
The report recommends that farmers should be supported to migrate within counties to find alternative work during lean seasons. Also, cost of international migration should be reduced and obstacles removed to ease movement of especially, people in poor communities.
Host nations just have to ensure they have better data collection systems so migrants are properly documented.