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General News of Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Complaints about high maize prices ‘absurd’- Deputy Minister

A Deputy Agric Minister has described as “absurd” complaints by consumers that the price of maize has gone up.

Sagri Bambangi told patrons at the maiden Meet the Farmers Conference, 2018, the price hikes are not “killer prices”.

If anything the new prices are an incentive to farmers to produce more, he said, adding, the farmers are not even making super normal profits from the recent hikes.

He said the “middle class” cannot determine the price at which an important commodity like maize should be sold insisting there is need for a middle ground where both consumers and farmers will benefit from the new prices.

“I have heard a lot of complaints about the high cost of maize and I find some of the complaints a bit absurd because I am not too sure these farmers are making supernormal profits at these prices.

“Farmers of maize also invest a lot in the cost of acquiring inputs to produce the maize. Much as I sympathize with consumers and I will like them to get cheap products, we will also have to recognize that when farmers produce and the prices are too low they give away and they are unable to make progress,” he said.

“…I don’t think the middle class in Accra expected that after all our toil in the farms we will come and sell a 100kg of rice to them at ¢100,” he added.

Mr Bambangi made the comment on behalf of the sector minister Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto during the Meet the Farmers Conference programme held in Accra, Wednesday.

The Conference organized by Crenov8 Ghana, is to help farmers in promoting agribusiness across the value chain.

The Conference brought together farmers, policymakers, marketers and other stakeholders within the agribusiness sector.

The Deputy Minister Sagri Bambangi dismissed assertion by the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness Farmer Anthony Morrison that budgetary allocation for the sector is significantly low.

According to Farmer Morrison, of the 54 African countries, only six are able to meet the 10% national budgetary allocation for agriculture as agreed in the Maputo accord.



While commending the government for various initiatives including, one district one factory, one village, one dam, Farmer Morrison said the fish disease, the fall armyworm and bird flu are current challenges facing the agriculture sub-sector.

He called for the setting up of an Agriculture authority in Ghana to see to the regulation of all agricultural activities in the country.

In a quick response the Deputy Minister said while they will continue to push for more budgetary allocation for the sector, it will be unfair to suggest the amount allocated to the sector is significantly low.

He argued the fisheries, lands, and forestry as well as the cocoa subsector which directly or indirectly form part of the agric sector, receives budgetary allocations as well but is not calculated as part of the allocations for the Agric sector.

He said the government is looking to institute a “Rearing for food and jobs” early next year to cater for the livestock sector.

According to Sagri Bambangi the livestock sector has over the years received less attention from governments for which reason it is crucial to have a programme to address the disparity.