The Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has debunked claims of food shortage in the country.
He said evidence on the grounds and data presented by the various regional agricultural directorates point to the availability of enough food in the country.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the high food inflation is not as a result of food shortage but rather rising fuel prices, high cost of agrochemicals, and other external factors including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“One of the motivations for us to come this time round is this whole issue about food prices being high and the explanation the people are giving is the fact that there is shortage of food. We know from our visits that, that is not true. The observations we’ve made in markets and enclave around Techiman, Ejura and etc show very clearly. we were able to identify 25,000metric tons of maize from last year which is in stock. That still exists in the markets. That is not counting what is up in the Northern part of this country so there is food from last year and as you can see the rains have been very good in the next one month the new harvest will start coming in so we are well stock of food”.
The Minister stressed “Any talk of famine in Ghana or shortage of food in Ghana in the coming year is pure speculations. The reality is totally different. The data that we have been presented by the various directorates of agriculture supports the view that we have a very healthy, robust agriculture system which has been spiked by planting for food and jobs”
The Minister made the comments Saturday, June 18, 2022, in an interview with the media after touring parts of the Eastern region to end the first leg of his annual regional tour to farms and processing facilities in the agricultural value chain
The Minister started the tour on Monday in Ahafo then visited Bono, Bono East, Ashanti, and ended in Eastern region.
He expressed disappointment in commercial banks in the country for failing to lend to farmers to expand their agribusiness even despite a meeting with the president.
He hinted of a legislation to compel the banks to give at least 20% of their loan portfolios to farmers.
“We are making a whole lot of efforts to ensure that we bring in the commercial banks including the possibility of introducing legislation so that commercial farmers will have to lend a portion of their portfolio to farmers and those in the value change -the processers and the others and that is the only way. We wouldn’t be the first country to do that, India has been practicing that for 30 years so definitely you are going to hear something in Parliament about this initiative that we are about to take as a way of making sure the commercial banks play their role because government is playing its role subsidizing inputs and all that they as a bank should be able to lend to agriculture but they are not so we have to find a way”.
He continued ” In fact we have had direct link with the Banking community that even the President of the Republic invited all the heads of the banks for lunch and in the presence of the government of Ghana and myself for me to make a strong case why the banks should be lending to Agriculture and this is about 6 to 7 months ago so we have to look at an alternative to ensure that credit is available to farmers and the Vue chain in other to sustain the growth that we pursuing”