By Kingsley Asare & Cecelia Lagba
A Control Price Mechanism (CPM) must be instituted by the government to ensure the uniformity of food prices across the country, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness of University of Ghana, Dr Edward Ebo Onumah, has suggested.
He said as pertained in the petroleum sector, the government should intervene to ensure that the increasing prices of food stuffs were controlled to bring relief to the citizens.
“When we take petroleum products for instance, when you go to all pump stations, you will see that the prices are the same, but when you look at agricultural products, you can be in the same market but the price of the same product will vary by individual,” Dr Onumah, said in his keynote address during the closing of the 2022 African Statistics Day celebration in Accra on Friday.
It was on the theme “Strengthening data systems by modernising the production of and use of agricultural statistics, information with a view to improving resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security in Africa.”
The African Statistics Day celebration organised by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is held every year to highlight the importance of statistics to national development.
As part of the programme, the GSS launched the Data Science Roadmap, a five-year strategy which, among others, highlights how the Service wants to use modern and electronic means to collate data and share same with stakeholders.
Dr Onumah who was the keynote speaker, stressed that under the CPM, government through the buffer stock system, could partner the private sector to buy foodstuffs in bulk to help stabilise and control the price of agricultural productions and sell to the populace.
“Without a CPM in the system, you will see that farmers will be farming more but traders will be making profit more than farmers,” he said.
The Senior Lecturer entreated the government to support the local production of tomato, rise and poultry.
He said it was worrying the country was importing tomato from countries which did not have fertile and arable lands like Ghana, adding that Ghana in the 1960s, imported only ten per cent of poultry products to meet local consumption, but currently was importing 80 per cent of its poultry needs.
The Senior Lecturer called for the harmonisation of agriculture data from the key stakeholders in the sector such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Ministries of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the various Universities.
To this end, Dr Onumah tasked the GSS to lead the efforts to collate and harmonise all agriculture data in the country, indicating that “Harmonising agriculture data will help better interrogation and monitoring of the sector.”
The Senior Lecturer also said the value addition of agricultural products should be incorporated in the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to reduce importation of food into the country and also help Ghana to rake in a lot of foreign exchange.
The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel K. Annim, pledged that the GSS would continue to generate statistical data to help influence the policies and programmes of the government to accelerate national development.
He said this year along, the GSS had released about 37 reports, including eleven on Consumer Price Inflation and another eleven on Producer Price Inflation.
Prof Annim, said the objective of GSS was to promote Ghana as a statistics driven society.
The Chief Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Patrick Robert Ankobiah, who chaired the programme, said the theme of the programme was very important, considering the current global development, which was impacting on agriculture.
He called for stronger collaboration among the stakeholders in the agriculture sector in the country.