04.06.2008 General News

Food prices to go down-Asamoah-Boateng

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The Minister of Information Stephen Asamoah-Boateng has assured Ghanaians of reduction in prices of imported food items as soon as the Parliamentary processes were completed.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the government has had fruitful discussions with importers and the concern regarding old and new stock of the affected food items have all been addressed.

“Therefore, the reductions in the food items will be immediate in our markets and shops,” he told journalists at the Meet-the-Press session.

The Minister reiterated government's commitment to boost local food production to ensure security.

It is in this direction that the mitigating measures announced by government included the amount of 11 million Ghana Cedis towards the provision of subsidy on fertilisers to all farmers.

Besides, local farmers cultivating the New Rice for Africa are given seeds free of charge which cost 50 GH Pesewas per kilo

Mr Asamoah-Boateng said government has also imported into the country 400 new tractors at the cost of 24,000 GH cedis each with government absorbing GH¢ 8,000 as subsidy.

The farmers will pay the remaining 16,000 by a down payment of 50 per cent and the remainder paid over three years with no interest.

“The irony of the rising food prices on the world market is that we can also take advantage to produce more for export as the world demand for natural food increases and as consumers shift from genetically modified foods,” he said.

The Minister said while the measures taken by government would involve slowing down some development projects, the social welfare policies designed to protect and assist the vulnerable would continue.

On the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty Programme (LEAP), Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the second round of cash transfer to beneficiaries under the programme had been effected.

He said the number of beneficiaries has increased from 2,000 in March to 3,200 in June. The LEAP grants range from GH¢ 8 cedis to GH¢ 15 cedis, depending on the number of eligible persons in the household.

On premix fuel, he said, extra efforts were being made by the Ministry for Fisheries and the premix committee to ensure that fishermen had enough of the fuel in good time.

There are also checks been carried out along the coastal area to check the invasion of foreign vessels that make life difficult for the fishermen.

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