The value of food commodities produced under the government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme was worth some US$6.1billion over the last five years, Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said.

According to the minister, this was made possible after the government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has invested some US$321million to procure seeds and fertiliser since the inception of the programme.

“Since 2017, t government has used taxpayer’s money to subsidise seed and fertiliser to our farmers as a way of increasing productivity and ensuring food security. The farmers have not disappointed, as the investment made has more than doubled,” Dr Afriyie Akoto told the B&FT.

In the last five years, subsidy for fertiliser has formed a chunk of the PFJ interventions programme – with funding for maize, rice, soya bean, sorghum, groundnut, cowpea, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, onions, pepper and carrot seeds being government’s priority areas for fruit, vegetable and grain production under the programme.

Escalating food prices despite the investments

Despite interventions by the government, prices of foodstuffs have been significantly increasing across the country over the last two years.

Latest data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has revealed that year-on-year inflation shot up further by 2.2 percent to 29.8 percent in June 2022; being the highest recorded since December 2003.

According to the figures, food inflation surged to 30.7 percent in June 2022 from 30.1 percent recorded in May 2022, while non-food inflation went up by 3.4 percent to 29.1 percent in June 2022.

A survey by the B&FT from Kaneshie Market last week indicated that a sack of onion that was sold at GH¢400 some three months ago is now sold between GH¢550 and GH¢600; meanwhile, a bag of maize currently goes for GH¢700 though it was sold at GH¢300 last year.

A five-litre container of palm oil that used to be GH¢70 is now being priced at GH¢110, and a crate of eggs which was sold at GH¢21 or GH¢19, depending on the size, is now being sold between GH¢29 – GH¢35.

Meanwhile, traders have blamed the situation on the cost of transport, as it has been attributed to the hike in fuel prices.

However, the government continues to maintain that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, have both played crucial roles in creating the current situation.

Source: Business and Financial Times