Hoarding of maize: MoFA to investigate reports by local farmers

Dr Afriyie Owusu Akoto, Ghana’s Agric Minister

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is set to investigate reports that some maize farmers who are direct beneficiaries of the Government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs policy are refusing to sell their produce to local feed millers.

The Ministry says it has received disturbing reports that rather than making their produce available to local poultry feed millers to complement the efforts of govt under the Rearijg for Food and Jobs initiative,  some local farmers,  especially in the northern regions are rather selling them to foreign counterparts from Burkina Faso, Togo and as far as Nigeria who reportedly offering relative high prices.

According to the Ministry,  though the development could be seen as a positive impact of the PFJ programme as the country has begun to reassert its position as food basket of the West African sub-region, reports that farmers “are denying local producers the opportunity to benefit from the PFJ windfall is a disturbing news”

Information trickling to the stables of the Ghanaian Observer newspaper indicates that the development is gradually pushing local feed producers out of market due to competition from their foreign buyers who are said to have invaded the country as a result of fear of food shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries.

In a statement issued by the Ministry,  it said “MoFA has taken notice of complaints by some major producers in the poultry industry  that farmers under the PFJ initiative are refusing to supply their produce to them; a situation which could adversely affect Government’s resolve to improve the local poultry industry and effectively reduce the importation of poultry products into the country”

It noted “whilst we appreciate the fact that individual farmers reserve the right to sell their produce anytime and to anyone they so desire, it will be in bad faith to say the least, to witness a situation whereby our own local industry players will be denied the opportunity to benefit from government support in the form of huge subsidies and technical support being enjoyed by farmers under the programme”

According to the Association of Poultry Feed Processors, prices of maize over the last three years have remained very stable due to government’s intervention.

For instance, over the past three years, the producers say they have been purchasing 50kg of maize,  including transportation,  at the cost of between 58Gh-60GH Ghana Ghana cedis which is good for their business.

However, over the last three weeks, this has shot up to 65GH, largely due to the influence from the foreign buyers.

If this trend continues, not only will it crowd them out of business,  it will also pose serious good security threats to the country.

The unfortunate situation is also likely to affect the Government’s flagship Rearing for Food and Jobs programme as many poultry farmers who are beneficiaries will face the challenge of getting raw materials (maize and soybean) to feed their birds.

The effect is that they will be left with no choice but to resort to importation which under the current circumstances due to COVID-19,  might not be possible.

Consequently,  this will push many of them out of market, resulting in huge labour losses and shortage of the produce.

Meanwhile,  the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has served notice of its intention to crackdown on this unfortunate situation and ensure that the interests of local poultry industry are protected.

The Ministry said it would collaborate with the security agencies, as well as other stakeholders along the value chain,  to address the situation.

It noted in its statement “MoFA is deeply concerned about this situation and wants to assure all industry players that it will liaise with the security agencies including the military,  police and the Immigration services to address the matter”

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