The Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has described unfounded claims by former President John Mahama that there could be food shortage in the country next year.
Speaking on a Sunyani-based radio station, Mr Mahama attributed the rising cost of crops to government’s failure to fund the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
He said the programme can only be saved with increased funding.
“I have a brother who is into farming, and he tells me government has 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,” he said.
The former President said the only way out is for government to sustain the programme with additional funding.
But Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto contends that the country is experiencing bumper harvest and even exporting to neighbouring countries due to government’s sustained investment in the sector.
“The Former President claim in his speech that the Planting for Food and Jobs programme was an initiative of the previous NDC administration and that his regime had secured funding from the Canadian Government for its implementation; this is a complete lie.
“The fact is that the Planting for Food and Jobs is a wholly Government of Ghana funded programme. Mr Mahama has confused the Modernizing Agriculture Ghana programme, which involves a $100M Canadian Grant, exclusively meant to expand the extension services programme,” he indicated.
According to him, since 2017, government has spent over $400M on the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
Dr Akoto explained that much of this expenditure went into subsidies for improved seeds and fertilizers for farmers
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, further noted that the food situation in the country has never been better than it is currently.
“It is unfortunate that advisors former President Mahama failed to explain to him the real story behind this Canadian grant, which had strict expenditure plan. The funds could not be spent on any other programme apart from extension support,” he stressed.
He also described as unfortunate, claims there could be famine in the country next year.
He stressed that despite the challenges posed by droughts and Covid-19, Ghana is still rated the most resilient country in the West African sub-region as far as food security is concerned.
“The Permanent Interstate Committee for drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) Report in 2020/21 lists Ghana as the only country in the West African sub-region with resilience against food shortage or famine.
“It is, therefore, preposterous for the Former President to predict doom for the country as far as food security is concerned when facts on the ground do not support such claims,” the Minister added.
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