A group of Agri-Stakeholders has urged the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to stop misinforming Ghanaians about the state of agriculture in the country. stop misinforming Ghanaians
The Agri-Stakeholder Group which comprise of the Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG), The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), and The Rice Millers Association of Ghana (RMAG) has expressed their disappointment at the comments and responses by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, during an interview on an Accra-based radio station on Wednesday 16th March 2022.
In the said interview, the Group disclosed that the Minister responded to questions relating to his performance as the sector Minister over the past five years. According to the Group, despite broad efforts by the government to address constraints in the sector through the consistent engagement of sector actors, the responses of the Minister, for the most part, were not only mysterious and unaccountable, according the the group. The Group further added that He demonstrated high levels of intolerance and outright disrespect to the living experiences of farmers and other actors in the sector.
According to the Group, the Minister disregarded the actual situation farmers were facing by giving answers to amplify his works.
“The Minister’s resort to ‘window dressing’ the facts and simply disrespecting the experiences of farmers will not fix the problem. According to the minister, we have more than doubled our maize production from 1.8 million to 3 million tonnes, but the market price of 100 kg of maize has risen from GHS100.00 in 2016 to almost GHS290.00 in 2022. Unless the Minister doesn’t have price points such as this or does not acknowledge the experience of Ghanaians and farmers, both results are not desirable for the sector’s development.”The Agri-Stakeholder Group
In addressing the ministers’ response to Ghana attaining food security status in his time, the Group has asked many questions: How come poultry farmers continue to lament price and the availability of corn for their feed? Why do prices of vegetables such as tomatoes and onions rise daily, and why do we keep importing them from our neighbors?
The Group lamented that the sector minister’s approach completely disregards real living experiences and credible data from institutions operating in the sector, including the government’s statistician.
“The sector Minister is well within his rights to disagree with the views, data, and experiences of actors in the sector. But to do that from an uninformed position, while not providing evidence, but vituperations and invectives for the simple reason of disagreeing and the insatiable desire to hear the sound of his voice is simply untenable in a sector as important as Agriculture and particularly at this time with such risks in the sector. Sadly, we have a Minister who happens to have some ‘holy grail data’ manufactured by him, which contradicts the real experiences of Ghanaians and farmers and the government’s statistician”.The Agri-Stakeholder Group
Although the Group expressed their disappointment, they have pledged their allegiance to work with the government and other stakeholders to ensure some respite is brought to farmers and Ghanaians, despite the sector minister’s unfortunate comments.