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High cost of food prices due to profiteering – Agric Minister speaks

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, is blaming the high cost of food items on the market on profiteering.

According to him, food products are in abundance but their retail prices remain high over and above the financial capacity of the ordinary consumers.

Speaking on the August 3 edition of TV3’s Ghana Tonight programme, the Minister explained, “the problem that we are facing about the high cost of food is nothing to do with the shortage of food in the markets. You [can] go to the producing areas, you will see exactly what I am talking about, I am just coming back five weeks ago. There is plenty of stock and maize not even for this year, this year’s harvest is yet to come; we are talking of leftover of last year’s crops.

“The issue is, you go and buy a basket of let’s say GH¢150 worth of tomatoes, and then it comes to Kumasi and suddenly it becomes ¢400, so there is some profiteering going on.”

Highlighting the impact of the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PF&J) initiative, the minister mentioned that citizens of some neighbouring West African countries are trooping to Ghana to buy food due to PF&J.

He said Ghanaians and other residents in Ghana are not experiencing the food shortages that are happening in other parts of Africa because the PF&J has resulted in an abundance of foods.

“Without Planting for Food and Jobs, we’ll be going as hungry as our neighbours around West Africa who are now coming to Ghana as the bread basket to pick our surpluses. To the point that we even had to limit it by saying we are temporarily banning export of our products to the neighbouring countries.

“Of course, other west African countries are going hungry that’s why they’re coming to Ghana to pick our food. Our surpluses and you’ll just have to travel to Ejura and other places to see those days the number plates of trucks crisscrossing Ghana, picking up surpluses to feed their own countries.

“As far as Kano in Nigeria, they were coming here to buy our rice,” Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto added.

Planting for Food and Jobs is a flagship agricultural programme of the Akufo-Addo-led government, with five (5) implementation modules.

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