Mr. Edward Kareweh, the General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has blamed the persistent rise in food prices across the country on a shortfall in agricultural output in Ghana.
Mr. Edward Kareweh explained that the shortfall in output resulted in a reduced quantity of food items in the country, and as such, there is more demand for few items, leading to the prices shooting up.
“In 2021, GAWU had given an indication that we were going to have a shortfall in total agriculture output. It is because we had a shortfall in total agriculture output that is why prices of goods are galloping the way they are galloping because there is less within the system and when there is less within the system, we all have to feed on it, then the prices will go up.”Mr. Edward Kareweh
Profiteering, the Cause of High food Prices
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, however, disagreed with GAWU’s assertions. He thus, blamed the high cost of food items on profiteering by middlemen. He explained that people go to the producing areas to purchase, for example, a basket of tomatoes is many times lesser than the price in the cities.
“The problem that we are facing about high cost of food is nothing to do with the shortage of food in the markets. You go to the producing areas, you will see exactly what I am talking about. I am just coming back five weeks ago, and there is plenty of stocks and maize not even for this year, this year’s harvest is yet to come, and we are talking of leftover from last year’s crops.
“The issue is, you go and buy a basket of let’s say ¢150 of tomatoes, and then it comes to Kumasi and suddenly becomes ¢400, so there is some profiteering going on.”Dr Afrityie Akoto
The minister further indicated that citizens of some neighbouring West African (W/A) countries are trooping to Ghana to buy food due to the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PF&J) initiative.
Dr Afrityie Akoto alleged that whereas some people are going hungry in their home countries due to food shortage, Ghanaians and other residents in Ghana are not experiencing same due to the abundance of foods as a result of the PF&J.
“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.
“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.”Dr Afrityie Akoto
The minister moreover, asked market women to price their goods reasonably to make life easy for Ghanaian consumers.