21st May 2024

Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto,

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, says there is no need for price control for agricultural produce, saying any such move could create “an artificial environment for the misallocation of resources.”

His comment follows calls by some members of the public for the government to regulate food prices to curb hikes, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

“There is no need to control prices; absolutely no need! The market is working; farmers are working. I think that the open pricing system that this government is following shows the kind of confidence that we have; that we will be able to supply food to the market for consumers at very reasonable prices,” he said.

Speaking at a press briefing on food security challenges in the country, Dr Afriyie Akoto said the government is putting in place measures to ensure there is enough food in the system.

“In any case, we are talking about nearly three million of farm produce, hundreds of thousands of traders, small and large, in the market. We see the teeming numbers of market women and men, how you go about controlling prices?” he queried.

Food production

However, to ensure that there is an abundance of food, the Minister indicated, the government has distributed improved seeds to farmers across the country to expand their yield.

On rice production, Dr Afriyie Akoto said the country was rarely self-sufficient before the current administration took over.

He disclosed that, from less than 150,000 metric tonnes, the country in 2019 harvested 665,000 metric tonnes of rice, adding that the government is targeting a harvest of between 750,000 and 800,000 metric tonnes for 2020.

“I am saying these figures with confidence. It is the amount of improved seeds that we supply to farmers that we use to do these extrapolations. We have moved from supplying 1,600 metric tonnes of improved rice seeds to 4,600 to 6,600 and last year we distributed close to 9,000 metric tonnes of seed.

“So we are ramping up the amount of improved rice seeds we are giving to farmers. You cannot compare the yield of the improved seeds to the traditional seeds…it is double. So the farmer who was harvesting four bags per acre, or so, is now dong more than that…some are doing eight and nine bags and it is attracting a lot of interest into the seed business in this country and also farming of rice seeds,” he added.

Dr Afriyie Akoto further said that the government is hoping to do more through the supply of mills to rice-producing communities so the farmers themselves can mill rice before it goes to the traders.

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