Emmanuel Wullingdool, an Agriculture Policy Consultant is unhappy that the National Buffer Stock Company (NAFCo) has failed to live up to its expectation. This is because of the shortage of some food commodities in parts of the country while other parts of the country have an abundant supply of the same food commodity in question.
Mr. Wullingdool made these comments on the back of recent comments by the President, Nana Akufo Addo that there were engagements with market queens to look at a national redistribution policy in the area of agriculture.
It would be recalled that Dr. Afriyie Akoto in a recent interview with Accra-based Asempa FM brushed off comments from players within the agricultural value chain that Ghana was food insecure. The Agric Minister then went on to claim that because of the extreme success of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, the government earned some 100 million USD through the exportation of some 19 food items.
Responding to the comments, April 27, 2022, Mr. Wullingdool found the Minister’s comments to be worrisome. “We need to, as a country, put in place mechanisms and systems that where there is an abundance of food in one part of the country, we are able to have it in another part of the country,” he said.
It was a position that was also held by Professor David Millar, the Founder and Vice-Chancellor of the Millar Institute for Transdisciplinary and Development Studies (MITDS)
“When you’re the Minister in charge of Food and Agriculture, your greatest responsibility is to ensure food distribution. Where there is a bumper harvest, you move it to where there is scarcity. Where there is scarcity, you also try to find out ways of dealing with that and ways of sustaining the bumper harvest. That is a more difficult to manage, as a Minister, than productivity and supplying fertilizers”.
Speaking on the President’s redistribution comments, Mr. Wullingdool explained that they were “better late than never.” He was also quick to add that NAFCo had failed to live up to its role.
“If this was done [food redistribution] was done much earlier, it would have been better. Even if you listen to what the President is saying, it is still something that is under consideration so we do not even know when exactly it will start happening.”
“We have a lot of things happening but we have not properly coordinated with other agencies to help this go on well. We have the NAFCo which has been in existence for a very long time. What have they done with it over the years?”
“We have been producing and this is where buffer stock should have come in strongly in way back in April. One would have expected that they come in strongly and probably designate some places in the Regional or District capitals where consumers can have food at relatively lower prices,” he said.
Mr. Wullingdool continued to say that “coordination has been a problem but it is good that the President is coming to that point that they need to find a way of working with private sector and other market players to make sure that such coordination is happening.”
It would be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the government is working hard to bring down the inflation rate and also food prices.
This, he said, is a major pre-occupation of government presently. Speaking at the 22nd General Meeting of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana at Kwahu Abetifi in the Eastern Region, President Akufo-Addo said: “Reining in inflation and bringing down food prices is a major pre-occupation of government and hopefully, this season’s emerging successful harvest will assist us in this regard.”
“Arrangements are being made with market women, market queens, in popular parlance, to provide trucks to evacuate foodstuffs from rural markets to urban centres to help reduce the cost of food prices in the city,” he added.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana