The Peasant Farmers Association is backing Former President John Mahama’s assertion that the country may experience a food shortage next year.
The former President says this will be due to what he describes as the mismanagement of the Planting for Foods and Jobs programme, whilst the Peasant Farmers Association is attributing it to challenges with accessing fertilizers, primarily.
Speaking on a Sunyani-based radio station, Mr Mahama attributed the rising cost of crops to the government’s failure to fund the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
He said the programme can only be saved with increased funding.
“I have a brother who is into farming, and he tells me the government is yet to supply farmers with fertilizer this year, and so he had to buy it himself.”
“The cost is very high, which has forced him to reduce the acres he is planting from 300 to 80, and the effects of this are that there could be famine in Ghana next year because the planting for food and jobs has failed,” he said.
The former President said the only way out is for government to sustain the programme with additional funding.
The Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has meanwhile described as unfounded the claims by the former President John Mahama that there could be a food shortage in the country next year.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto contends that the country is experiencing bumper harvest and even exporting to neighbouring countries due to the government’s sustained investment in the sector.
But speaking to JoyNews’ Kwaku Asante, Head of Programmes and Advocacy of Peasant Farmers Association, Charles Nyaaba, said the hike in food prices witnessed this year will worsen next year if some structural issues within the Agric sector are not fixed.
“This year, we have had serious challenges with fertilizer, especially in the Northern Part of the country. You know, in the North, the land is not fertile, so if you farm without applying fertilizer, the likelihood of recording very low yield is very high.”
“I must admit that in the last few years, the government has been doing well with supplying fertilizer, but this year the situation has been worse. As a result, many farmers can’t get fertilizers to apply.
“The subsidies cover both NPK and Urea, and as we speak, there’s no company that supplies even a single truck of Urea because they claim there’s a world price hike and the government also owe them for what they supplied in 2020. So the situation is affecting yield.”
He continued that next year, there will be further price hikes. Because this year, although the weather is a bit stable, the cost for input is very high.
“If they will address these challenges, it should be now so that those doing the minor season farming can have the inputs. Next year, apart from the price hike, if the outstanding issues are not addressed, we are likely to see the situation going worse.”