The General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers’ Union, Edward Karewe, believes warnings about a possible food shortage in Ghana should be taken seriously.
“We should be sincere with ourselves because a policy is meant to meet the needs of the people. When people are crying that they are anticipating food shortage, you don’t have to dismiss it,” he said on Eyewitness News.
Mr. Karewe said a more prudent response will be to offer assurances to Ghanaians.
“Assure the people that we are putting in place ABCD to deal with it should it [food shortage] come, but you don’t say that it will not come and refer us to 2017 [is not the best].”
One of the red flags for Mr. Karewe has been the government’s struggles to pay fertiliser suppliers.
This is believed to have led to a shortage of fertiliser for farmers this year.
“It is not just about the lack of fertiliser. It is also about the fact that people who had actually increased their acreage hoping to get the subsidised fertiliser did not get it,” Mr. Karewe added.
In response, a Deputy Agriculture Minister, Yaw Frimpong Addo, expressed confidence in the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
“Because of the numbers that we have been able to enrol on the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, there is no way that Ghana is going to face any famine in this country,” he said.
He added that the government was expecting good harvests this year, which will be buttressed by the policy to have a warehouse in each district.
“Fortunately for Ghana, between 81 and 85 of the warehouses will be ready to be used this year to store any excess produce that will come from our farmers.”
“The Buffer Stock Company would be a resource to be able to buy all these things to save them for drier seasons,” Mr. Addo said.
The discussions over fears of a food shortage follow concerns raised by former President John Mahama.
The Food and Agriculture Minister’s office accused Mr. Mahama of scaremongering, saying the Planting for Food and Jobs had bolstered Ghana’s food security.