What is a food shortage

Growing population means increasing need for food

The agricultural sector in Ghana has been growing continuously for years. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the real increase is expected to be 2.1 percent in 2020, despite the Covid 19 pandemic, and 1.8 percent in the following year. The share of agriculture, forestry and fishing in the gross domestic product was around 20 percent in 2018. About 30 percent of the workforce work in the agricultural sector, which corresponds to around 3.5 million people.

Agricultural goods and food are important imports and exports in the country. The import of food makes up the largest proportion of imported goods. In 2018, they accounted for 17.1 percent of total imports of US $ 11.9 billion (US $), which corresponds to a volume of US $ 2.03 billion. In exports of US $ 17.1 billion, food accounted for 24.6 percent (approx. US $ 4.2 billion) and thus ranked second among the most important export goods after oil.

Rice, wheat and poultry in particular have to be imported

Ghana is highly dependent on food imports and cannot support itself. In particular, staple foods such as rice, wheat and poultry have to be imported. For example, the national demand for poultry is around 400,000 tons per year, but only around 60,000 tons are produced locally each year.

In order to reduce dependency on imports, the Ghanaian government has been trying for a number of years to create jobs in agriculture and above all to improve the food supply with a series of programs such as the lighthouse project “Planting for Food and Jobs”. As part of the "1 District 1 Factory" program, which has existed since 2016, more than 20 food producing and processing companies have been founded or expanded with government support. The meat industry is supported with the "Rearing for Jobs and Foods" initiative launched in 2019. In 2020, for example, poultry production is to be increased by 40,000 tons through appropriate aid.

Cultivation of agricultural products in Ghana (selection)

Cultivation types

Annual production 2018/19 (in tons)




Second most important grower in the world; Trend: recently rising.

Palm oil


Number 13 worldwide; Trend: constant.



Ascending trend.



Ascending trend.



Ascending trend.



Ascending trend.



Ascending trend.

Around 600,000 inhabitants are added each year

Due to the annual population growth of around 2 percent alone, the demand for food is rising continuously. In relation to around 30 million inhabitants, this means an increase of 0.6 million people per year, which roughly corresponds to the number of inhabitants in Düsseldorf. In addition, Ghana is located in the heart of West Africa and therefore geographically favorable. Export destinations for Ghanaian food and beverages - albeit to a lesser extent - include Burkina Faso, Togo, Nigeria, Côte d´Ivoire and Benin.

Statistics on the market for food in general and food and packaging machines in particular hardly exist. According to estimates by the AHK Ghana, there are around 250 companies in the regions of Greater Accra, Eastern / Volta, Brong Ahafo / Ashanti and Western that are active in the food processing and logistics sector. There is potential in the delivery of food and packaging machines and the corresponding technology in the production environment.

2019 record year for German food and packaging machines

In 2019, the exports of food and packaging machines to Ghana rose sharply compared to the previous year. According to the Association of German Mechanical and Plant Engineering (VDMA), exports almost tripled and reached a value of 28.6 million euros (2018: 7.3 million euros). That is the highest value in years.

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the devaluation of the Ghanaian currency Cedi could prove a burden for the sale of food and packaging machines in 2020, making imports more expensive, a disadvantage for local food manufacturers.

Consumer purchasing power is also suffering from the devaluation of the Cedi and the effects of the pandemic. Few Ghanaians can afford imported food and beverages. In addition, food prices have risen due to the corona crisis, even if local production has ultimately increased due to the pandemic. The awareness for high-quality, locally produced products is growing, so that regional products with the label “Made in Ghana” can increasingly be found in supermarkets.

Interest in the Ghanaian market unbroken

Nevertheless, market experts assume that investment activities will continue, which, however, have stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The interest of established manufacturers, but also of companies that want to enter the market for the first time, is unbroken despite the corona crisis. New product launches are planned in the beverage sector in particular.

A growing small middle class can afford increasingly expensive imported and processed food. Expensive frozen products such as ready-made pizzas or frozen vegetables and fruit, cheese and sausage, but also marinated meat are increasingly found in Ghanaian supermarkets. A frozen pizza costs on average 8 euros, the price for a pack of sausage or cheese (80 to 100 g) is 8 to 10 euros. An awareness of organic products is also slowly growing. There are a few organic shops or small departments for organic products in supermarkets.