Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture has stated that food security in the country is rock solid and the government’s commitment to guaranteeing food sufficiency is still on course.
”When I toured the five regions of Eastern, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo two weeks ago, I realised there is more than enough and adequate food in the system”, the Agriculture Minister emphasised.
He noted throughout the tour it was gathered that 27,000 metric tons of maize were available in the markets, which were from harvest made in the 2021 farming season and expressed the hope that this year’s farming season would witness a major bumper harvest.
He, however, admitted that food prices had gone up more than most commodities especially in the urban areas, attributing it to the high cost of fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, which resulted from the Russia-Ukraine war.
He, however, stressed that the Government was very much concerned and therefore made strenuous efforts to stabilise the situation.
Speaking on the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs), Dr Akoto indicated that 2021 national statistics showed the country’s economy grew by 5.4 per cent, which was led by the Agricultural sector which grew by 8.4 per cent.
He said the agricultural sector was heavily driven by the crop sector, which grew by 8.9 per cent as compared to the other sectors of the economy like the services and manufacturing sectors which grew by 4.8 and 2.5 per cent respectively.
Dr Akoto said the statistics further indicated the economy grew by 3.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, saying that was led by the agriculture sector, which grew by 5.3 per cent.
So, “without the growth of agriculture the economy for the first quarter of this year, we would have performed abysmally,” he stressed.
Dr Akoto cited, “Ghana has become the destination for other West African countries to purchase food items,” indicating the PfFJs had been successful, else those countries would not have been coming here to buy foodstuffs.
He said to protect the country’s food security, the government had passed legislation banning the export of 19 food items, including cereals, grains and legumes such as maize, rice soya beans, groundnuts and others to the neighbouring countries, adding, that the legislation was subject to renewal every six months.
Dr Akoto stated it could not be said Ghana had not been affected by the current global economic crisis when even countries with relatively stronger economies such as the United States of America, Germany and the United Kingdom had been affected.
He, therefore, implied, that Ghana’s economic situation now was not about politicizing and criticizing the government, but a call for everyone to be nationalistic and realistic to contribute to the stability and advancement of the economy for improved livelihoods.