By Julius Yao Petetsi
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has stated that Ghana is food sufficient despite the economic conditions the country finds itself in.
He said using the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s measuring metric of availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability, there is no question that Ghana is more than food secure.
In answer to a question asked of him by the Member of Parliament for Gomoa West, De Graft Piatoo on measures put in place by government to improve on food security, Dr Akoto said the Planting for Food and Jobs policy has ensured that there was all-year-round food in the country.
“Mr Speaker food accessibility in Ghana is more than satisfactory. In recent times price hikes of food commodities in the urban centres particular Accra is creating an erroneous impression that food has become inaccessible.
“I have just returned from a tour of regions in the southern belt of the country and I can assure you that prices in the urban centres particularly Accra, are a far cry from what pertains in particular production centres in the regions.
“Many attribute the high increases to the cost of fuel and transportation. Whereas this may be true to some extent our analysis at the Ministry reveal that it is over exaggerated. Accordingly, government and the ministry on its own are arranging to transport food from the production centres directly to Accra to provide food at reasonable prices to the public and workers,” he told the House in Accra yesterday.
He said the food crop module of the PFJ was targeted at addressing the issues of low productivity, and low growth that had characterised the food sector.
An objective diagnosis of the sector, he said reviewed that yields of staples such as maize, and root tuber was between 40 per cent – 45 per cent of potential yields as of 2016 and equally distressing was the fact that only 11- 15 per cent of food crop farmers used improved seeds and fertilisers.
“Fertiliser application was also at a low 8kg per hectare was compounded by poor extension service delivery due to a low extension farmer ratio of 1:1908 in 2016 though the recommended ratio b the FAO is 1:500” he observed.
On food utilisation, the minister said government was constructing 80 warehouses to address the phenomenon of food going waste in rural areas.
“Most of these warehouses are currently being put to use at District Assemblies after completion to ensure that these warehouses are put to optimal use to serve their purpose.”
According to Dr Akoto, his outfit was inviting private sector participation in the management of that facility and advert to that effect has been put in the newspapers.
“Mr Speaker, interventions by government in the last five years has clearly laid a solid foundation for sustainable food availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability. Even in times of major adversity, food production has been constituent, ensuring the needed stability and resilience that every country needs to survive.
“This has been made possible through the sound and pragmatic policy of government and all of us should support on-going effort to build a strong food sector that ensures self-reliance, value addition and the needed linkage to industries,” he rallied the legislature.
“Mr Speaker, Government’s investment toward National Food Security within the space of 5 years from 2017, I dare say is unparalleled in the history of this country,” he touted.