Clement Kofi Humado
The country is not only food sufficient, but has recorded surpluses in majority of its staple foods, despite cries by many Ghanaians over the high cost of agricultural and other food items, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado, has announced
He added that the country had also experienced food security and adequate food nutrition. These, he said, were as a result of government?s proactive measures, the hard work of farmers, fishermen, agro-businesses and the support of development partners in the agricultural sector.
The Minister was speaking at this year?s farmers? day celebration at Sogakofe in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, last Friday, December 6, 2013.
The event which was on the theme: ?Reducing Post-harvest Losses for Sustainable Food Securiy and Nutrition? was chaired by Togbe Patamia Dzeley VII of Battor Traditional Area.
Mr Humado said yam, maize, plantain, cocoyam and legumes had all recorded significant surpluses this year, and ?cassava is currently yielding a surplus of 6,221,456 metric tonnes per annum, while yam production is 2,072,344.
Plantain and cocoyams are yielding surplus production of 825,777 and 170,000 metric tonnes respectively, with maize recording 230,070 metric tonnes of surpluses.?
He added that tree crops such as oil palm and citrus were also making satisfactory progress and attracting foreign investors. The fisheries sector, he hinted, had made phenomenal increase from 6,514 metric tonnes in 2008 to 27,451 at the end of 2012.
Despite these surpluses and strides, he, however, conceded that there were shortfalls in rice and poultry production in the country.
He highlighted that ?the country is producing about 50 percent of its consumption needs? and hoped that the growing agro-business in rice production and increasing rice production by small holders in valley bottoms would narrow the gap in the coming years.
He bemoaned the huge foreign exchange expended on rice importation as well as meat and chicken, despite the numerous strides being made at the sector
To deal with the situation, he added that government was partnering with the private sector and agro-businesses to increase rice and poultry production and save the foreign exchange that is used to import rice and meat into the country.
The Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, lamented that ?Ghana is experiencing between 30 and 40 percent post-harvest losses on agricultural produce.? He, however, assured that government would do everything in its power to remedy the situation and restore post-harvest losses to at least 20 percent in the coming year. He called on industry and other stakeholders to complement the government?s efforts in reducing the post-harvest losses.
From Fred Duodu, Sogakofe