Traditional Maize Storage Systems and Staple-Food Security in Ghana
Ghana is self-sufficient in the production of maize, the major staple food for many low-income Ghanaians, yet staple maize-availability projections in Ghana do not include insecurity problems in the post-harvest season caused by poor storage, distribution difficulties, and high prices. This study uses the concept of food "security-storage" relationships or an "availability-gap" to refer to the ability of poor Ghanaians to access stored maize in the post-harvest season. This estimated "availability-gap" measures available maize needed to raise food consumption of the poorest Ghanaians to the minimum nutritional requirement during the post-harvest season. However, maize price is usually highest in the post-harvest season when maize is not easily available. As a result, Ghanaians with increased poverty levels have insufficient purchasing power to access a minimally healthy maize diet in the post-harvest season. Therefore, ensuring easy availability of maize to the poor can scarcely be accomplished without sufficient maize stored in the post-harvest season to stabilize prices. This study evaluates how traditional maize storage efficiencies contribute to food security in Ghana by examining the economics of maize-storing systems. There is no standard method for appraising the efficiencies of the traditional maize-storage systems. As a result, this collaborative study between ASU and ISSER uses both direct and indirect analyses to allow cross-checking with each other. The systematic data-collection phase involves interviewing and observing traditional maize farmers and traders as they handle maize in Ghana. Images of traditional maize storage and distribution systems and policy recommendations are presented using visual media and digital technologies.
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