Importing basic foods is embarrassing – Minister

Mr Brian Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, says the country must stop importing basic food items, including vegetables like tomatoes and onions, describing it as embarrassing. He said this after visiting the exhibition stands of farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural value chain in the 2023 Agrifest as part of the 2023 National Farmers Week celebration. The Minister said Government was not happy about the situation and that strategic plans had been put in place to change the narrative and called for support of all stakeholders. Mr Acheampong said with government's funding of the planting season in the Northern Region, a bag of maize had reduced at the farm gate from 315 to 160 Cedis. He, therefore, called on traders to let the price reflect in what they sold directly to consumers. With poultry products importation, Mr Acheampong said Ghana produced only 15,000 metric tonnes, but consumed 325,000, a situation which made it difficult for the local poultry business to develop. Gover nment, he said, was going to support the industry with 18 million Cedis next year to revive the sector. He said government's food security plan would also increase metric tonnes of poultry and food crops production from 15,000 to over 75,000 and to 150,000 by 2028. Mr Ken Ofori Atta, the Finance Minister, said government was also allotting one billion Cedis to support the initiative, including planting for food and jobs. He said about 10 billion would be invested in the sector to stop importation and as well create jobs. '2024 will see a deliberate approach for agriculture to make it attractive for people to venture into,' he added. Mr Ofori-Atta condemned the over -pricing by some traders, who charged high prices after buying foodstuff cheap at farm gates, saying 'that has to change'. Source: Ghana News Agency