SIMILAR DIFFERENCES OR DIFFERENT SIMILARITIES? ASSESSING FOOD SECURITY POLICIES IN GHANA AND BURKINA FASO THROUGH THE LENS OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS
Policies designed to serve the needs of the poor often fail to elicit the right responses because policy makers
and beneficiaries have different expectations. How this might manifest in different settings is not clear,
particularly so among people with the same cultural ancestry but living in two different countries with different
political systems. In this paper, we compared food security policies in Ghana and Burkina Faso from the
perspective of Kasena/Gourunshi smallholder farmers. Data were gathered from three Case Studies, 13 focus
groups and 28 key informants in two Districts in Ghana and two Communes in Burkina Faso using scientific
and indigenous methodologies. The results showed that, in both Ghana and Burkina Faso smallholder farmers
perceive food security policy as an externally funded programme dominated by maize to the detriment of their
more nutritious traditional millets and sorghum. Food security policy has also altered smallholder farming
systems and food security is now seen as business and politics, with little to do with food itself. We conclude
that, under current food security policy, zero hunger by 2030 cannot be achieved without a paradigm shift
from food security to food sovereignty which enables smallholder farmers maintain control over the farm
enterprise and produce quality food. One pathway is to give the Ministries of Food and Agriculture in both
countries a new focus by renaming them “Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty” (MAFoSo) or “le
Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la Souveraineté Alimentaire (MASA)”.
Keywords: Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Maize, Millets, Smallholder Farmers
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