Agriculture, in all its forms, provides jobs and supports the livelihoods of many people in Ghana, especially small-holder farmers in rural parts of the country. The impact of agriculture and agribusiness in creating economic opportunities for large segments of the Ghanaian population is not in doubt. However, many farming methods employed by both industrial and smallholder farmers are not sustainable in the long-term.
With crop cultivation, we are experiencing rapid environmental degradation due, for instance, to extreme application of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, often leading to food contamination and groundwater pollution and contributing to soil erosion.
When it comes to livestock agriculture, environmental degradation comes from multiple sources as well. Pastoralism (referred to as Fulani Herdsmen) and free-range animal husbandry are the dominant production systems, but these involve extensive mobility of livestock. It is a fact that meat, dairy, and egg production are amongst the leading causes of human-caused climate change, soil erosion, water pollution, and the decrease in biodiversity. According to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), farmed animals are responsible for 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture also accounts for at least half of all food-related greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to being a huge source of emissions, animal agriculture further exacerbates climate change due to the clearance of forests, grasslands, and wetlands to provide land for grazing and to grow animal feed crops.
Added to the environmental issues raised above are depletion of fish stocks from the sea and freshwater bodies arising out of the use of chemicals, dynamites, small fishing nets and other over-fishing and water polluting methods.
According to the FAO, the global food system in total contributes about 30% of all human-induced emissions.