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Food prices record significant increases in 4th quarter of 2021

Most markets monitored across Ghana have recorded significant increases in food prices in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

28.1% hike in food prices globally

The situation in Ghana reflects global food price increases as the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices, averaged 125.7 points – a 28.1% increase in 2021 over 2020.

0.37% increase in food inflation

On the average, food inflation increased by a 0.37 percentage point over the national inflation in fourth quarter of 2021.

Food inflation 1.53% higher than national inflation

Also, food inflation increased by 1.53 percentage points on the average, over the national inflation in the third quarter of 2021.

These are contained in the seventh edition of the Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System (FSNMS) survey report carried out in 60 identified food insecure districts.

Pragmatic policies to check further price increases

The report recommended that MoFA closely monitor the current increases in commodity price trends of the major staples and inform government to put in place pragmatic policies to check further price increases, especially during the lean season.
Households and food sufficiency

Despite these increases, 92.7% of households surveyed are food secure and moderately food insecure with only 211 (7.4%) severely food insecure.

3,011 households surveyed

The Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System (FSNMS) surveyed 3,011 households across all 16 regions in the country.

2,099 (69.7%) of households food secure

Out of the number, 2,099 (representing 69.7%) was food secure, which means they fall within the acceptable food consumption group.

These are households that consume staples and vegetables every day, frequently accompanied by oil and pulses, and occasionally meat, fish and dairy.

691 (23%) of households moderately food insecure
Some 691 respondents (representing 23%) were moderately food insecure.

These households consume staples and vegetables every day, accompanied by oil and pulses a few times a week.

211 (7.4%) severely food insecure

However, 211 respondents (which constitute 7.4%) are severely food insecure.

This refers to households that are not consuming staples and vegetables every day and never or very seldom consume protein-rich food such as meat and dairy.
Significant commodity price increase in 4th quarter

Generally, the report said most of the markets monitored recorded a significant increase in prices of commodities in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

The price of maize in most key markets observed an upward trend.

Prices of maize more than doubled

During the fourth quarter, prices more than doubled in Kumasi (149.32%), Goaso (136.12%), Sunyani (149.26%), Wa (103.30%), Koforidua (129.67%) and Tamale (116.79%).

Price of maize dropped 12.14% in Oti Region

With the exception of Nkwanta in the Oti Region, where the price of maize dropped by 12.14%, prices in other markets rose significantly.The survey report said imported perfumed rice experienced a mix of normal, above normal and below normal price fluctuations.

Imported perfumed rice up 37.13% at Sefwi-Wiawso

Most of the markets monitored recorded an increase in the price of local perfumed rice.

The price increases ranged from 3.70% for Techiman to 37.13% for Sefwi-Wiawso.

Prices declined in 5 markets up to 23.02%

Meanwhile, five markets observed a decline in prices, with Koforidua recording the sharpest decline of 23.02%.

2.69% price increase at Ejura

Ejura recorded a marginal price increase of 2.69%, the lowest among markets surveyed.

Price of imported rice drop at Nkwanta market

Nkwanta, however, was the only market that saw a drop in the price of the commodity.

103.67% rise in the price of plantain at Nkwanta market

Meanwhile, in the same Nkwanta market, the price of plantain doubled at a rate of 103.67%, the highest change recorded for the commodity.

2.28% increase in the price of plantain in Koforidua

In Koforidua, however, the change in price was very marginal, hitting 2.28%.

 Price of plantain dropped big at Sefwi-Wiawso, Goaso

On the other hand, the price of the commodity experienced a decline of 73.67% at Sefwi-Wiawso, followed by Goaso at 35.81%.

These two markets are located in districts that produce large quantities of plantain and that could have accounted for the lower prices.

Cassava prices increased by 52.02% at Agbogbloshie
Cassava prices increased by 52.02%, 117.88% and 10.17% at Agbogbloshie,
Sefwi-Wiawso and Ho respectively.

Marginal price changes of cassava in Wa and Takoradi

Meanwhile, marginal price changes were recorded in Wa – 3.96% and Takoradi – 0.40%.

Cassava prices decline in remaining markets

The rest of the markets, however, witnessed decline which may be attributed to increase supplies in the markets, as harvesting was being done during the period under review.

Severely food insecure households in 4 regions

The survey further revealed that severely food insecure households were mostly from the Northern, Ashanti, Savannah and Greater Accra regions.
Moderately food insecure households in 3 regions

Moderately food insecure households mostly came from the Northern, Ashanti and Savannah regions.

93.80% of severely food insecure households were male-headed households

An overwhelming majority – 93.80% of the households that were severely food insecure were male-headed households, while (6.20%) were female-headed households.

Coping strategy

Out of the total number of 3,011 households that responded to the survey, 77.80% indicated that they did not employ any coping strategy during the quarter.

On the other hand, 22.20% of the households indicated that they adopted some coping strategies to deal with lack of food or money to buy food during the quarter, and these were mostly households within poor and borderline food consumption groups.

These strategies include relying on less preferred or less expensive foods, borrowing from relatives and friends,  limiting or reducing the portion or size of meals, restricting consumption of adults for the benefit of children and reducing the number of meals eaten in a day.

Sources of food
Purchasing of food from the market with cash, subsistence production and credit of food from the market remained the three main sources of food for the majority of the households interviewed.

72.40% depend on own production

About 26.34% of the households indicated that they purchased their cereals/tubers from the market with cash, while 72.40% depended on their own production.

Buying with cash

The study further revealed that households mainly got their sugar (69.78%), milk (95.95%), legumes (41.38%), fruits (61.18%) and vegetables (63.90%) from the market with cash.

Novel govt programmes

The government rolled out novel programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), One District One Factory (1D1F) and formalisation of the formal sector, among others, to make the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality.

Harvesting late maturing crops

The report said the fourth quarter of 2021 was characterised by the harvesting of the late maturing crops, namely sorghum, millet and yam in the northern sector and minor season maize in the forest, transitional and coastal savannah agro-ecological zones.

Market supply of grains increased

Domestic food production, therefore, continued to improve tremendously as market supply of grains increased and prices of some commodities began to decrease, contributing to household food access and consumption.

Overall, cereal production for the 2021/2022 cropping season is expected to increase by 15.7% over the previous cropping season (2020/2021).

Similarly, the production of roots and tubers, including plantain and legumes, are also estimated to increase by 8.4% and 10.7% respectively.

This can be attributed to the favourable rains experienced in the northern sector and during the minor planting season in most parts of the country.

Household food consumption patterns remained largely acceptable as in the last three quarters.

Global situation

The Cereal Price Index also decreased 0.6 per cent for the full year; however, it reached its highest annual level since 2012, rising 27.2 per cent.

The biggest gainers were maize, up 44.1 per cent; and wheat, gaining 31.3 per cent. One of the world’s other key staple foods, rice, lost four per cent.

Oil and sugar

The Vegetable Oil Price Index declined 3.3 per cent in December due to lower global import demand that may be linked to concerns over the impact of rising COVID-19 cases, which have led to delays in the supply chain.

For the year as a whole, the Oil Index reached an all-time high, increasing 65.8 per cent compared with 2020.

Another key staple, sugar, dropped by 3.1 per cent last month from November, reaching a five-month low.

FAO analysts said this shows concerns over the impact of the Omicron variant on global demand, as well as a weaker Brazilian Real, combined with lower ethanol prices.

For the year as a whole, the Sugar Price Index rose 29.8 per cent, reaching its highest level since 2016.

Meat and dairy 

The Meat Price Index was “broadly stable” in December but rose 12.7 per cent through the year as a whole.

Dairy was the only category where prices increased in the last month of the year, rising 1.8 per cent on November, mostly because of lower milk production in Western Europe and Oceania.

Cheese prices declined marginally last month, but for the year overall, the Dairy Price Index averaged 16.9 per cent higher than 2020.

The Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System (FSNMS) survey is jointly released by Statistics, Research and Information Directorate (SRID) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Nutrition Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) with financial and technical support from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The survey plays an important role in identifying, analysing, and addressing the conditions that give rise to food insecurity and undernourishment.

The system provides the necessary information to decision makers for building sound policies that will alleviate the conditions of food insecure districts to recover from their canker.

The Food Consumption Score (FCS) is a measure of dietary diversity, food frequency and the relative nutritional importance of the food consumed.

A high FCS increases the probability that a household’s food intake is adequate.

The FCS is a good proxy for the current food security status and is highly correlated with other food security proxy indicators, including coping strategies and income.

The Household Food Consumption Score (FCS) is associated with household food access – and is, therefore, used as a proxy for household food

The FCS is designed to reflect the quantity and quality of people’s diets.

The FCS is used to classify households into three groups: poor, borderline or acceptable food consumption.

These food consumption groups aggregate households with similar dietary patterns – in terms of frequency of consumption and diversity – and access to food.

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