Member of Parliament for Sissala West, Mr Mohammed Adams Sukparu, has bemoaned the soaring prices of food stuff on the Ghanaian market.
The MP said he had witnessed that the government’s agricultural policies are not directly affecting the masses in rural areas, especially in his constituency where farming is predominant.
The government has touted its flagship agric programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), as one of the successful programmes under the Akufo-Addo government.
Delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address, President Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed that Ghana was a net exporter of some food stuffs and added the country did not experience food shortage in 2020 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He attributed that to “the bold policies” implemented by his administration since 2017 adding Ghana had been able to feed citizens from what the country produced because of his government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, Rearing for Food and Jobs, the 1-Village-1-Dam initiative, 1-District-1-Warehouse policy, and the establishment of greenhouse villages.
But speaking on Morning Update on TV XYZ, Mr Sukparu stated, “many people do not understand the planting for foods and Jobs” adding it is not how it has been showcased to Ghanaians.
“Apart from the fact that government provides subsidy to the farmers, I mean the farm inputs.. we are always doing politics with it [PFJ],” the MP noted.
“The person who is supposed to benefit is not even aware that there is a programme,” he added and explained that his constituents are not feeling the impact of the programme.
He attributed the food hikes to the failure of the PFJ and said the price of a bag of maize is now GHS 200 and said by June the price would have jumped to GHS 300.
Two weeks ago, the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) disputed claim by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that food was in abundance in Ghana last year due to the PFJ.
General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Kareweh, disputed the claim and explained that Ghana still depended heavily on imports of foods from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, and Togo for daily consumption.
He said the recent protests by tomato marketers, importers and haulage drivers about highway robberies on the Ghana-Burkina Faso border indicated that Ghana could not produce tomatoes to feed the country.
“And that we are a net exporter of tomatoes, that can not be accepted,” Kareweh told XYZ news’ Wisdom Hededzorme.
He added that the escalating price of maize since last year indicate that maize was not produced in large quantities to take care of the country’s citizens.
“The price of maize last year 2020 March and that of 2021 March, the price is very,very high for 2021. It means there has been a tremendous increase price in the price of maize. We are also aware that poultry farmers could not also get the maize to buy and even when they got it, the price was exorbitant… and for that matter, per the government’s own statistics that maize [production] has been increased by 110% which has been doubled the percentage, certainly it would have driven down prices,” he stated.
Kareweh also noted that the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme is a bold initiative yet it still faced serious teething problems that appear ignored.