Business News of 2013-12-06

Ghana has surplus food; says Agric Minister

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado, says Ghana is not only food sufficient but has recorded surpluses in recent years.

He says the situation has come about as a result of the government’s proactive measures in the agricultural sector.

The Minister was speaking at this year’s Farmers’ Day celebration at Sogakofe in the Volta Region, Friday, December 6, 2013.

Mr. Humado said cassava, maize, plantain, cocoyam and legumes had all recorded significant surpluses this year.

He, however, conceded that there were shortfalls in rice and poultry production in the country.

To deal with the situation, he said government had put measures in place increase rice, livestock and poultry production.

“We are partnering with the private sector and agribusinesses to increase rice and poultry production and save the foreign exchange that used to import rice and meat into the country,” he stated.

According to him, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture would “continue to release unutilized sections of irrigation land to farmers” to further increase food production.

The biggest challenge facing the country, he said, is the high level of post-harvest losses suffered by farmers annually.

He said the close to 30 percent post-harvest losses was unacceptable.

Farmers from across the country are receiving awards in recognition of their contribution to food sustainability.

While lauding farmers’ efforts at feeding the nation, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has slammed government for showing very little support to farmers and Fishermen.

According to a statement signed by the Party’s Director of Communications, Perry Okudjeto said growth in the agric sector under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration has declined from 7.2 percent in 2009 to 5.3 percent in 2010.

The NPP also criticized the imposition of taxes on agricultural inputs, unreliable supplies to farmers and what it described as the politicization of the mass cocoa spraying exercise.

The statement also expressed gratitude for the critical role played by hardworking farmers and fishermen.