GHANA – Ghanaian agribusiness firms have received a hit from the outbreak of the corona virus, registering a reduction of 61.2% on the average monthly revenue, according to a survey conducted by the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG).

According to the survey, small-scale agribusiness firms suffered the largest revenue shortfalls of about 77.4 %, due to undeveloped or poorly-developed business linkages, weak incorporation of technology, including information communication technology, processing, poor raw material supply chains and inventory management, the report emphasized.

On the other hand, large-scale agribusiness firms experienced the least revenue shortfall over the same period, attributed from good work or employee arrangements, improved raw material supply chains and good market arrangements, reports Ghana Web.

Participants in the survey were both local and foreign-owned agribusinesses located across 16 regions of Ghana.

Over 80% of agribusinesses surveyed admitted the pandemic has had a toll on their operations and services. The report indicated that Ghana has no clear pathway to salvage the sector players from the global pandemic.

Even with the government’s promises and efforts to offer stimulus packages to vulnerable groups, agribusinesses and smallholder farmers are despairing to see the government’s immediate roadmap to mitigate the threat of the pandemic as the country nears food insecurity.

Paramount effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agribusinesses were disruption in normal business operations, increase in business expenditure, cut in supply/production, difficulty in meeting monthly revenue target, and payment of salaries and wages; difficulty in honoring tax obligations/debt repayment, and threat to employees’ health and life.

The chamber assessed the extent of the impact of COVID-19 and provided data-driven inputs and proposals to the government to map out immediate interventions to cushion the sector and salvage the industry from the obvious impact of this pandemic.

The CAG has called on government to profile major food production zones in the country and prioritize resources while embarking on mopping-up other essentials in developing and commercializing vegetables and underutilized crops.

“Food security crops such as rice, maize, soybean, sorghum, yam, potato, cowpea, cassava, millet and groundnuts should be prioritized for commercial development. The poultry, livestock and aquaculture value chains should be included in the stimulus package,” the statement read.

The chamber further called for government to institute an ad hoc committee, similar to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), comprising a High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) and relevant stakeholder institutions to oversee emergency efforts.