The Chairman of the Competitive African Rice Platform, Yaw Adu Poku, has dismissed claims of unnecessary profiteering by retailers of food items on the local market.
Commenting on the Planting for Food and Jobs market at the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture, on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday, Mr Adu Poku revealed that his profit margin is insignificant considering the cost of transportation and price of raw materials.
“Last July for a 50,000 tonne truck, I was paying GH¢14,000, that is the 50kg bag [of rice], a thousand of that… Today I am contracting two articulated trucks taking 50 tonnes, and I am paying GH¢60 cedis per bag and that is GH¢60,000 to move from Tamale to Accra.”
“I was [recently] buying from the farm gate at GH¢3,200 a ton of paddy. This week I am paying GH¢4800 from the same farm and I haven’t moved from that farm, so the difference now is GH¢1600 on the raw material, and I am paying in excess of 44,000 for transport so all this comes together and makes it exorbitant… This is the reality on the ground.”
“I invest not less than 6000 cedis on a ton from a farm gate to retail level and my margin is 200 cedis so check what is the difference. So if someone says that we are profiteering, then I beg to differ.”
We lack leadership and innovative thinking
Mr Adu Poku also admonished the government to be innovative and find ways to make food products accessible and affordable to Ghanaians.
He said the project must be maintained only as a pilot project while the Minister comes up with new ways to ensure that prices of food products at the market are made cheaper.
“The [Agric] Minister wants us to know that food is in the hinterlands and carting it to Accra is the issue, so it is not the market woman nor the aggregator, it is all of us caught in this situation that we cannot put our fingers on.”
“What we need to do, is to isolate it as a pilot project and think around it how we get food to the urban areas where it is needed. We need to go back and rethink. The problem we are facing is leadership; they are not giving us what makes us call them leaders.
“We should think, what will make food affordable is that when the farmer is well resourced, then food will be more affordable. When the value chain is well resourced, then food will be available. This is what we have to do,” Mr Adu Poku told Sit-in host Nathan Quao.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture on Friday, November 11, started piloting food items at its premises to the general public.
According to the Ministry, the move forms part of efforts to cushion Ghanaians and mitigate the impact of rising food prices.