No looming food crisis in Ghana – Agric Minister

Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, in-charge of Livestock, on Tuesday gave the assurance that the country would not experience food crisis in spite of poor food crop harvest last year.

“Government has placed orders for yellow and white maize, which are currently on the high seas…and government will closely monitor the price trends and take other measures to ensure availability and stable prices in 2012.”

Dr Tia, who gave this assurance in a press statement copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said government had also put up long-term measures that would turn the country from an importer to a net exporter of food.

The statement was in reaction to media reports predicting food crisis in the country, as a result of the erratic rainfall pattern and its resultant poor harvest.

The Deputy Minister said the Government during the last farming season spent GH¢78 million as 50 per cent fertilizer subsidy, covering more farmers throughout the country to increase food production, while another 30 per cent subsidy had been provided on all agricultural equipment.

He said government had between 2009 and 2011 purchased 140 new rice combined harvesters, 25 new maize harvesters, 350 additional grain-cocoon storage facilities, which would help accelerate agricultural production this year.

“In addition to that, more tractor mechanization centres have been established, increasing them from 12 in 2008 to77 in 2011 and all these will spur the farmers on to increase their yield in the coming years.” He added.

Dr Tia said government would stabilise the prices of grains and cereals, import more yellow corn and eventually adjust tariffs on imported chicken to boost local poultry production and provide them with a lifeline to compete favourably with importers.

The Deputy Minister said the Government had also rehabilitated  50 small irrigation dams in the three northern regions, completed nine irrigation schemes in Greater Accra, Volta, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions, while the Millennium Development Authority was constructing the Kpong-left bank and the Bontanga and Golinga irrigation schemes to put more areas under irrigation.

He said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture would collaborate with the food buffer organisations to ensure that food was available and affordable for every Ghanaian, adding, “Nobody will experience food crises as has been published in some sections of the media.”

Source: GNA

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