Enough food available, don’t stock at high prices – Agric Minister  

  • Buffer Stock gets GH¢100m to restock
  • Beans, rice, poultry value chain get GH¢200m to boost operation

The Minister of Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said that, as part of measures to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the nation has ensured there is enough food stock available for more than a month and therefore people should desist from panic buying, a situation that has resulted in food price hikes in the areas that have been in partial lockdown for 14 days.

According to him, all players in the food value chain, from the farmers to the traders in the market, have been exempted from all restriction and can go about their daily activities without any prohibition. The move is to ensure that every locality will have an operational market that will supply food, both cooked and uncooked.

He added that, prices were hiked due to the number of people who thronged the various markets in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi to stock pile food before the commencement of the lockdown directives Monday dawn.

“Prices are very dependent on the fundamentals of supply and demand. We expect the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter of the year to have increases in prices of food generally because stocks are very low and farmers are busy preparing their land for the new season.

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That is generally something one would expect, but on top of that is this mad rush to stock up which has actually accentuated the situation. But once everyone comes back to normality there is an assurance that the food supplies will be available and prices will come down.

Those of you rushing to buy at two or three times the prices of the goods you need, you are just throwing money away because the stocks will be there in the market and the food will be there. So the waakye and other food sellers can serve the rich and the poor in the society,” the minister said at press conference help at the ministry of information.

The minister told journalist that, there is little government can do to stop price hikes due the country’s free market policy, but it can only entreat buyers not to engaged in panic food stocking so that traders will have no incentive to sell at cut throat prices.

“Giving the situation in Ghana today where we are having surpluses, there is no need for price control, it is only the consumer instant behavior which has caused this and I can bet that it is temporal. I am ready to bet that in the next week or two prices will come down.

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Once people realize that there is more than enough food in the system and they don’t need to rush to stock up, because this is not a war situation. We are talking about just two weeks with a possible extension.”

Stimulus package for agriculture    

The minister told the press conference, the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) will get some GH¢100 million to restock its warehouses across the country.

Chief Executive Officer of NAFCO, Abdul-Hanan Aludiba also revealed that, produce license buyers have been directed to beginning buying from farm gates and supply to warehouses. “Their monies are ready. When you supply, we have funds to pay you,” he told journalist.

He added that the company has available, 10,000 metric tons of maize, 20,000 metric tons of rice, 4,000 metric tons of cowpea and 2,000 metric tons of millet. According to the Mr. Aludiba, NAFCO would not rest on its oars but will continue to gather enough foods to ensure the national food basket has sufficient goods.

Players in the Sawyer beans, rice and poultry value chain are getting some GH¢200 million to boost operation.  The monies will be disbursed to support them scale up production to ensure the nation has enough of these produce to feed itself and export if need be.

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