Dr. Charles Nyaaba, the Executive Director of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has warned of astronomical hike in food prices next year 2024 if the government fails to take actions to help farmers lower input costs.
Speaking at a media interaction on the IMF bailout in Accra on the theme “What did Ghana sign-up for? Considerations for 2023 Mid-year Budget Review,” the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) iterated that food prices will go high from next year if the government does not scrap the myriad of taxes on farming inputs.
The PFAG Executive Director argued that the government’s fund allocation to the sector over the years has been very minimal despite being a major contributor to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.
“As we said earlier, the picture of food supply in 2024 next year is not something that we are predicting to be good. And the main cause of that is increase in the cost of production, input prices is gone up, farm mechanization is gone up, vaccine for veterinary service is gone up, fuel or energy is gone up leading to almost 100% in the cost of production. So, we expect to hear tax waivers for agro inputs that will actually allow suppliers of this inputs to be able to make them available to farmers at a moderate cost.”Dr. Charles Nyaaba
The Executive Director of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana meanwhile, called for urgent government intervention to reverse the trend.
Disappointment in 2023 Budget
Dr. Charles Nyaaba expressed disappointment at the failure of the 2023 budget to tackle key issues affecting the agricultural sector, especially government’s flagship programme Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
Mr. Nyaaba added that limited supply of input, lack of quality seeds and expired fertilizers from the initiative are key areas that the 2023 Budget failed to address. He stated that they expected the 2023 budget to address key issues such as poor quality of seeds and fertilizer that are hampering production in the agricultural sector.
“What we were expecting the budget to do, is to take advantage of these shortages by putting in money. What led to increase of cost of reduction in the subsidy for fertilizer, high cost of mechanization services, so we were expecting to see the budget allocating huge sums of money to ensure that suppliers of inputs under the PFJ are all paid?”Dr. Charles Nyaaba
Dr. Nyaaba indicated that the government’s proposed Agricultural Insurance policy must prioritize investment in structural challenges in the agricultural sector that is limiting the productivity and potential of farmers.
The Chairman of Competitive Africa Rice Production, Yaw Adu-Poku added that government needs to engage farmers on the Agric Insurance policy for them to accept it before it is implemented.
“This is a government policy and government policies are well thought of programmes that the government wants to pursue. What we are saying is that it is a laudable policy, but we the stakeholders, we those on the ground should have been consulted, made aware to buy into the programme.
“For example, my farmers and I, do not know about the agric insurance, is it like the health insurance or car insurance or it’s a totally different programme from the normal insurance thing that we know. These are some of the things that we should have discussed before even going to parliament or been captured in the budget.”Yaw Adu-Poku
Dr. Nyaaba therefore, called on the government to address its concerns in the yet to read mid-year budget.