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General News of Thursday, 16 September 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Mahama vindicated as Agric Ministry makes U-turn on possible food shortage

Former president John Dramani Mahama Former president John Dramani Mahama

• The Agric Ministry has admitted Ghana faces a possible food shortage

• This comes days after calling former president Mahama a 'scare-monger' over similar calls

• Ghana has banned export of food in order to stock national reserves


Deputy Agric Minister, Yaw Frimpong, has admitted that Ghana faces a possible food shortage days after slamming former President John Dramani Mahama as a scaremonger for raising the issue.

According to him, the government has subsequently suspended the export of all locally produced food items to neighbouring countries to afford the National Buffer Stock Company to stock up as much food as possible.

“Food security is national security, because it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that we have food in the system. The availability of it and then the pricing too should be affordable, that is all what everybody is struggling for.

“The situation has arisen as a result of several factors and these factors include the global economic situation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected even the production of fertilizers and the supply and transportation of these fertilizers.

“And then secondly, the government also because of revenue shortfalls had challenges with payments to fertilizer suppliers and this actually affected agriculture production in the country,” he admitted on the September 14 edition of Joy FM’s News Night programme.

He admitted that the government lowered its guard feeling that we had enough as neighbours kept exporting our products and before we could say jack, Ghana was in a tight situation.

He also attributed low production to the drought of last year before promising that Ghana was not going to lower its guard going forward.

Late last week, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture via a statement dated 10 September 2021, urged Ghanaians to ignore comments by John Dramani Mahama regarding a possible food shortage in the country next year.

Mahama had specifically stated that the shortage was because the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ) has failed.

The PFJ was introduced in 2017 by the Akufo-Addo led administration which is to ensure sufficient food supply in the country.

During his ‘Thank You’ tour in the Bono region, the former president attributed the rising cost of food to the government’s failure to fund the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

He said, “I have a brother who is into farming, and he tells me the government is yet to supply farmers with fertilizer this year, and so he had to buy it himself.

“The cost is very high, which has forced him to reduce the acres he is planting from 300 to 80, and the effects of this are that there could be famine in Ghana next year because the Planting for Food and Jobs has failed.”

But in a response, the ministry said, John Dramani Mahama wants to switch from the backlash he is receiving following his ‘do or die’ comment with an attack on the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

“The former President, in an attempt to shift the public discussion from his rather reckless and infamous ‘do or die’ comment which has attracted public backlash, has decided to attack one of the government’s most successful flagship policies Planting for Food and Jobs.

“In fact, apart from becoming desperately notorious for making reckless comments in recent times, the former president is now also engaging in scare-mongering, thriving on lies and falsehoods just to put fear in Ghanaians,” the statement read in parts.

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