Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto says but for the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, like other West African nations, Ghana would have gone hungry.
The Minister says the initiative has become the saviour for Ghanaians and the subregion which has salvaged the citizenry and her neighbours within West Africa.
Commenting on the impact of the programme on TV3’s Ghana Tonight with Alfred Ocansey Tuesday, August 2, 2022, Dr. Akoto said the feat is evidenced in the influx of other West African nations in the country for her surplus.
“Without Planting for Food and Jobs we’ll be going as hungry as our neighbours around West Africa who are now coming to Ghana as the bread basket to pick our surpluses to the point that we even had to limit it by saying we are temporary banning export of our produce to the neighbouring countries,” he asserted.
When asked if he is sure of his claims, the 2024 NPP Presidential candidate hopeful said “of course other west African countries are going hungry that’s why they’re coming to Ghana to pick our food. Our surpluses and you’ll just have to travel to Ejura and other places to see those days the number plates of trucks crisscrossing Ghana, picking up surpluses to feed their own countries. As far as Kano in Nigeria, they were coming here to buy our rice.”
The PFJ suffered some challenges in 2021 after government failed to pay suppliers of inputs for the programme. Food prices have skyrocketed as a result in 2022, with an inflation rate of over 29%.
Even though the Minister admits government owes fertilizer and other input suppliers, he believes the external shocks (Covid-19 and Russian invasion of Ukraine) should be blamed for any challenges the policy has suffered.
“It’s not what happens in Russia that matters. It’s what COVID has had on the global economy which matters. Of course we owe the fertiliser suppliers but it’s all part of the whole disruption of the world economy,” he blamed.