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23.04.2008 General News

Soaring rice prices affecting other food commodities

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle

Soaring rice prices on the world market is affecting other food commodities on the local market. The patronage of rice has seen a gradual decline because of its continuous price increase on the world market. The situation has affected virtually all food commodities on the market, as the demand for food commodities that act as substitutes for rice increase, their prices have also increased.

The country has of late been relying on rice imports, a situation that local farmers have complained about the effect it is having on them.

Food security has become very sensitive on the local market and many believed that causes of the present food prices are likely to continue in the long term.

A quick survey on prices of food commodities at the Agbogbloshie market in Accra reveal that prices of wheat, cooking oil and milk have increased three times since the past year. Ideal milk is now selling between GP75-80 as against GP50 last year. 25litres of cooking oil is now selling at GH¢ 43.OO as against GH¢22.OO last year. 20 and 10 litres of cooking oil is sold at GH¢ 34 and GH¢ 19 respectively as against GH¢19 and GH¢ 8 in 2007.

A tuber of yam is selling between GH¢2 to GH¢3 depending on the size whilst a finger of plantain is sold at GP 40. Cassava is sold between GH¢ 1-2.

This, according to Auntie Adjo, a house wife who resides at Lapaz, is having a very serious effect on her day-to-day budget because of price instability on the market.
According to her, as at the close of last year, her family was living on GH¢5.00 a day but today she has to adjust upwards the household money given her by 50% in order to feed the family.

A 50kg of Texas rice now sells at GH¢57, whilst CIC Number 5 is also selling at GH¢52 as against GH¢50 and GH¢43 in the previous year.

The threat to food security arose in the 1960's, but was controlled by the massive cultivation of wheat and rice in Asia, which was then popularly known as the green revolution.

Since 1974, the real price of food on the world market has been drifting gradually downward and by 2005, had declined by a remarkable 75%.

In the last three decades, the world became accustomed to cheap priced foods, but since 2005, food prices have gone dramatically into reverse and many believed that it is time for the government to implement measures to ensure food security amid soaring prices of food commodities

Florence Addae, a yam seller at the Agbogbloshie market, suggested to government to institute measures of price controls and increase the budgetary allocations for the agricultural sector, in order to provide more food to feed the nation.

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