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Agric Ministry’s food retail programme is a failed policy – Agric Expert

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The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has set up food retail centres in the Greater Accra Region to mitigate the hike in food prices.

According to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, most middlemen go to the farm gates for farm produce at cheaper prices, only to turn around and sell them at higher prices in urban centres, hence the need for the MOFA retail centres.

Food prices in the country continue to soar, raising concerns about the government’s failed interventions in the Agricultural sector.

Data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) reveal that food inflation in May 2022 was 30.1 percent higher, compared with 26.6 percent in the preceding month.

Non-food Inflation was also 25.7 percent in May 2022, as against 21.3 percent the previous month.

Speaking in an interview in Sunyani, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, attributed the increases to factors beyond government’s control, such as high cost of fertiliser and chemicals and the increase in fuel prices.

He said despite the ongoing economic crisis, some people have drastically increased their food prices which he says is unacceptable.

The Ministry’s move has however been described as a failed policy. 

“For me, the first thought that came to my mind is that this is a complete failure of policy. The Ministry has no business retailing any foodstuffs. It is supposed to create an enabling environment to allow market actors to do that. In fact, one of the key aspects of the Ministry is to create market opportunities for the private sector to be able to do this very well,” Ibrahim Akalbila, the Executive Director for the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) said when he spoke on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show today, Monday, November 14, 2022. 

Mr. Akalbila explained that the situation disrupts the natural market systems and cannot be sustained. ” … definitely built for failure. There is no sustainability in what the Ministry is currently doing. If you consider what they are even doing, plantain is in it’s peak season and it is in abundance. I believe in the next month or two, the Ministry would not be able to get that plantain to be able to transport to Accra or any other place for that matter for people to buy.”

The Ministry, led by Dr. Akoto, is rather being encouraged to focus on enhancing the pillars of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to increase output. That, according to Mr. Akalbila, would be  a more permanent and realistic situation to the problem. 

“At GTLC, the studies that we have been conducting on PFJ over the years, we have seen that there have been issues of quantity of inputs available and quality of service to the people. On both issues, the Ministry has failed,” he said.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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