The funds are being used to refurbish food storage facilities and warehouses across the country, provide fertiliser subsidy for farmers and rehabilitate dams for irrigation.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffour, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic, said, “The buffer stock programme is aimed at securing sustainable food security to meet the country’s food needs in times of scarcity and mop up excess production which can unduly affect the prices of food and serve as a disincentive to farmers.”
Out of the amount, GH¢ 15.17 million will be used for the rehabilitation of storage facilities, GH¢10 million to support fertiliser subsidy and GH¢2.08 million to support ongoing rehabilitation works on various dams.
The buffer stock programme announced in the 2010 Budget is to enable the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to stock excess food and release it in times of scarcity to guarantee prices for farmers, while ensuring a sustainable supply of staple food all-year round.
To pursue the National Strategic Food Buffer Stock, the government last year rehabilitated two warehouses in Tamale and Yendi and 900 metric tonnes of maize was stored using a technology known as ‘pro-cocoon’.
Dr Duffour said the dams to be rehabilitated included the Tono Dam in the Upper East Region, as well as seven small-farm irrigation dams at Atwima in the Ashanti Region, Techiman, Asunafo and Wenchi in the Brong, Ahafo Region, Wassa Amenfi and Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region and South Tongu in the Volta Region.
Explaining, further, he said besides achieving food security, the intervention was also part of the government’s efforts at reducing the high production cost on the shoulders of the country’s gallant farmers.
The Media Liaison Officer of the Ministry, Mr Abdul Hakim Ahmed, also explained that the provision of small-farm dams, and the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities would ensure all-year round farming and encourage the youth to take up sustainable jobs in agriculture.
He said as of the end of the first quarter, some storage facilities belonging to the dormant Ghana Food Distribution Corporation (GFDC) at Wenchi had been completed.
There are similar silos in Nkoranza and Sekye-dumasi in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions, respectively.
To enhance food security and effectively prepare the nation for emergency situations, the government instituted the food security and emergency preparedness programme to increase food production during the year.
The government also embarked on an agricultural mechanisation programme last year which continued in the 2010 budget.
To make the programme successful, 34 technicians from 15 private companies were trained in borehole construction.
Mr Ahmed explained that part of the funds released would, therefore, go to support the construction sites for 32 dug-outs and 16 boreholes which were started last year in the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions.
Source: Daily Graphic