Bad roads contributing to high food prices


Stakeholders in the agriculture value chain have lamented the poor nature of roads, which they say is contributing to the current high food prices in urban settlements.

They said while food prices have been on a downward trend on the global market for more than a year now, domestic foods prices continue to skyrocket – making it difficult for Ghanaians to cope.

According to an agriculture economist and a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Agriculture Economics and Agribusiness Department, Yaw Osei-Asare, bad roads play a major role in price hikes as drivers have to spend more on servicing their vehicles when transporting food items from farms to the market, a cost that is passed on to the final consumer.

“When roads are not good, it affects transportation and is then transmitted automatically – so the transport owner will pass on the cost and charge higher, and the driver will in turn pass it on to the trader and the final consumer. When roads are smooth and good, maintenance cost is low, repairs are low – so you don’t have any extra costs,” he explained.

He made this point in an interview with B&FT at the just ended high-level multi-stakeholder forum dubbed ‘promoting fair food pricing in Ghana’. It was organised by Consumer International in partnership with the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), as part of an agenda for bringing together governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to share evidence and expertise on the issue of unfair food prices on the market.

The meeting also sought to discuss policy and enforcement actions required from authorities against unfair food prices caused by anti-competitive practices; and to also agree on the actions required from all stakeholders to support a stronger, fair and competitive food marketplace.

On his part, Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, Lawrence Amartey Tetteh, said the change in weather patterns largely contributes to food price hikes as it consequently reduces farm output.

“To a large extent, climate change has an impact on our business operations. As poultry farmers, we are looking forward to feed being readily accessible and affordable.

“If we are to really face a challenge relating to weather conditions which put difficulties in the way of those who are into crop production, this will obviously lead to increases in feed cost. So, we think climate change has a greater impact on food security; and as practitioners we are contributing to improving climate change in our operations,” he added.

Speaking on measures that can be adopted to curb the situation, Communication, Advocacy and Programme Lead of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, Shadrack Nii Yarboi Yartey, stated there is a need to have regulatory frameworks to control the market in terms of checking and comparing prices of items to ensure fair food pricing.

“There are no laws in Ghana that deter anti-competition behaviour on the market; therefore, government should incorporate regulatory bodies that ensure fair pricing – which will in turn help grow the agriculture sector,” he said.

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