The Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr. Ernest Debrah has emphasised that Ghana has enough local food production even with the world food situation that has worsen in recent years with rising food prices, especially for cereals but said has not distributed it properly over the years.
He said there was the need to move surplus food from the producing regions to other regions with deficits. The national production of crops increased from 2000 to2007: cassava recorded, 8,107mt to 10,210mt, yam; 3,363mt to 4,376mt, plantain recorded 1,933mt to 3,233mt the figures for cocoyam 1,625 to 1,690mt, maize recorded; 1,013 to 1,219mt but said sorghum, millet and rice recorded a deficit due to the recent floods in the northern part of the country.
Mr Debrah made these remarks in Accra, yesterday, when he met journalists at the Ministry of Information and National Orientation's conference hall to explain the current food situation in the country and around the world. There has been a recent report about an increase in the price of food stuff in the media.
The minister noted that government is interacting with the market women and transport owners to find ways to minimise the effect of transport costs on food prices. 'We are also ensuring that food is not smuggled out of the country.'
He said little could be done to the prices of imported items such as rice, wheat, milk, cooking oil among others since their market was a global one and the determinant factors were beyond the country's control. 'Ghana will explore the possibility of getting support from our friendly development partners to assist in procuring food', some he observed were ready to support.
Talking about the medium and long term he pointed out that his outfit was intensifying it production of widely accepted nerica rice in areas where it has a comparative advantage over maize production. Increasing productivity by increasing yielding per acre through the use of technology and improved agronomic practices he observed were also looked at.
The recent increase in the prices oil and gas he said has increase the price of fertilizer in the world market and has resulted in the consequent 40 percent in the price of fertilizer locally. 'This increase price will reduce fertilizer consumption and consequently agricultural production in the country, therefore, we need to address the high cost constraint that limits access to fertilizers by the Ghanaian farmer', he added.
He assures government commitment to make fertilizer available for use for all farmers and advised that Ghanaians should see the rising prices of food on the world market as an opportunity rather than a curse and asked Ghanaians to patronised local produced foods.
In a statement, the Minister for Information and National Orientation, Hon. Oboshie Sai Cofie observed that a manifestation of orienting Ghanaians in consuming its local food stuff as the served of local dishes such as the ampesi and kontomere, apeprensa, bokoboko stew as well as other local soups at its functions.
She reiterated an appeal to Ghanaians to grow more vegetables in their back yards and change their eating habit
Food situation in the West African sub-region worsened in 2007 following the extreme climatic conditions of drought and flooding in most countries.