Business News of Sunday, 15 May 2016
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has denied reports of a shortage of cassava on the market.
According to the Ministry the rise in the prices of the commodity is because of the seasonal nature of the crop and the delay of the onset of rains this year.
A shortage of cassava has been reported across the country prompting a sharp rise in the price of the commodity.
But USAID technical advisor at the Ministry, Kwesi Korboe insists there is enough cassava in the Ghanaian market.
He said “we generally have enough cassava planted way above what we need for households and industrial consumption.”
Mr. Korboe explained that because cassava is manually harvested cultivating it is usually costly especially during the dry season.
“Cassava is manually harvested; there are only few places that it is not manually harvested and it is manually harvested because we haven’t come out with the easiest way of harvesting it worldwide. What happens our rainy season comes in the second quarter which is April, so in the first quarter the ground is very hard. What that means is that the cost of farming cassava becomes expensive and tedious.”
Mr. Korboe said if you look at data in Ghana, every year, prices tend to go up in the first and second quarter, and “as we move into the third quarter when the rains have set in, prices tend to fall.”
“It is nothing unusual. You also agree with me that this year the rain fall has delayed and that will contributed to prices going up but you can’t say there is no shortage of cassava,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minority spokesperson on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the reported shortage of cassava in the market is as a result of government’s disregard for the concerns of farmers in the country.
According to him, the shortage is a symptom of a general problem within the sector. Speaking to Citi News, the MP for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region charged government to intervene in the sector to reverse the trend. “It is very clear that there is a shortage and nobody can dispute that.
It is unfortunate because some of us know that you can lay it at the doorstep of public policy in order words, agriculture policies pursued by the government have woefully failed to revive the growth mechanisms of Agriculture because farmers who are the major operators are being ignored and they are sinking everyday into deeper poverty.”
He said “if you go to Kumasi, Takoradi, Aflao to talk to farmers just on the roadside, and look at their situation then you will believe what I’m talking about.”
“So we have a very serious situation and the response that we are getting from government is even more worrying. Government is using rhetoric instead of committing resources; they are using rhetoric and propaganda for the people of Ghana to believe that everything is well in agriculture,” the MP added.