Minister of Food and Agriculture deserves support

 The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, says according to the Food and Agriculture Organisa­tion (FAO) criteria, Ghana is food-sufficient despite the economic conditions the country finds itself in.

The FAO criteria are avail­ability, accessibility, utilisation and stability.

All along, the minister has been claiming there is no question that Ghana is more than food secure but critics have been attacking him for such a claim, usually citing high prices of food items, particularly in the urban area.

The attacks on the minister for his claim are not justified because most of the attacks ignore his explanation and without providing any count­er fact, refuse to acknowledge the availability of food in the country.

If the argument is that high prices of food is depriving some Ghanaians the ability and opportunity to eat what 

they wish to, that should be another matter.

The Ghanaian Times is of the view that the agri­culture sector needs all the support from every citizen because everyone depends on the sector for food to survive.

Elsewhere in Africa such as Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, peo­ple are facing hunger and in May this year, it was estimated that some 10.5 million people were facing malnutrition in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Mauritania and that the number might increase.

Unlike Ghana, these other African countries need food aid to be able to survive.

What we think should rather be the question is why there is food in the country but its prices are high?

Then we can know if there is really food avail­able but certain factors are causing its availability and high price, particularly at the urban centres,

We have identified poor road network or lack of access roads in some parts of the country and high transport fares which have resulted in high cost of food.

One other problem is the activity of market queens, who invest no amount in bringing the foodstuffs to the market but charge traders unreasonable tolls by way of taking a share of the food items.

And now, due to high prices of other things, food sellers manage to sell their produce at prices at which they can make some money to be able to secure their other needs.

Now, the Minister of Agri­culture says he is planning to bring the foodstuffs to some centres and keep them as buf­fer stock.

If nothing at all, we must ask questions as to how he is going to do this since there are no silos in the urban areas of the country. We should also prevail on the government to fix the impassable roads and also pro­vide access roads where there are none.

If the state fails to fix the food-related problems, the attacks on the Minister of Ag­riculture would not solve them.

Therefore, let us rather sup­port the minister to discharge his duties as his success would provide some comfort for the whole nation.

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