The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has debunked claims by the opposition New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate that Ghana relies on imports to meet her plantain needs.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed Alhassan, said the claims cannot be true because there is excess of the product on the market.
Ahmed Alhassan, who is also the MP for Mion said the agricultural sector’s share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is 2.4% and not 0.04% as stated by Nana Addo.
He indicated that in 2015, farmers produced 17 million metric tonnes of cassava; half of which would be enough to feed the entire population. He also stated that farmers produced 3.9 million metric tonnes of plantain; and it is just about 2.3 million metric tonnes that is needed to feed the population.
He stressed that the country do not import such products as plantain. He explained that although the supply into the market is a regulatory price receiving; that doesn’t mean we are importing into the country, adding that the statistics of what we have in the country is certainly more than what we need to consume.
However, we would not fail to point out the fact that recently, there has been an acute shortage of plantain across the country. But the traders of the commodity have laid part of the blame on the destruction of farm lands by lawless Fulani herdsmen.
The 2016 flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Akufo Addo, had accused government of gross compromise of her election manifesto as well as mismanagement of the economy. According to him, the agricultural sector is one of the worst hits.
Speaking at an NPP branch meeting in Paris, Saturday, Nana Addo said that Ghana’s economy under the Mahama administration has witnessed stupendous set backs unlike what is obtainable in other neighboring African countries.
Specifically speaking on the situation of the Agric sector, Akufo-Addo pin-pointed that the sector is currently growing at an appalling 0.04%, and that Ghana now imports plantain!
He noted that during Kufuor’s regime, the bill for food import was at $600 million, but the NDC led by the late President John Mills and John Mahama, constantly criticized them. He however noted that the food import bill under the NDC administration has shot up to $1.5 billion.
We are now left to find out as well as judge which is the truth in this matter; government reports or that of the opposition.