A research, conducted by Mangrove, an agro-based non-governmental organisation has revealed that about 90 per cent of farmers in the southern part of Ghana have either not heard about crop insurance or have no knowledge about how to access it.
The research, carried out in the Northern, Volta and Western regions involving seven communities in five districts showed that majority of smallholder farmers agreed that they were vulnerable to climate related risks, confirming that they had experienced crop losses due to climate related risks.
The Executive Director of Mangrove, Dr Daniel Adu Ankrah who gave the details of the research in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday stated that the study, supported by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund also found out that excessive rainfall leading to flooding was adjudged as the most important factor rendering farmers vulnerable to climate related risks.
He said farmers in a bid to adjust, put in place various coping strategies and this varied per region or geographical area, adding that the coping strategies included alternative income diversification and borrowing and sale of livestock especially in the Northern Region among others.
"Even though majority of the respondents agreed that agricultural insurance was good, only a few had ever acquired insurance. We also found out that lack of knowledge about agricultural insurance products constitute the most important reason for non-subscription among smallholder farmers," he added.
Dr Daniel Adu Ankrah called on government to turn attention to agricultural insurance for small holder farmers to manage environmental risks in the sector.
According to him, climate change continued to pose greater risks to farmers who were particularly vulnerable to climate-related risks and if this was not addressed properly, could compromise government's effort to make the agricultural sector attractive.
He said "This problem, if not resolved, will compromise government's effort to make the agricultural sector an attractive trajectory for jobs and better food security outcomes under its flagship policy of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)."
He was of the view that agricultural insurance had become an important tool for managing economic and environmental risks in the agricultural sector as climate change posed a long-term risk to agricultural producers, particularly smallholder farmers across the southern belt of the country.
Dr Ankrah further explained that, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa had been tagged as the most vulnerable as far as the negative impact of climate change was concerned due to their over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture and Ghana was no exception to reliance on rain-fed production and access to information was also a challenge.