By Nana Asare Barimah
Ghana has resumed the export of maize to three neighbouring countries, including Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Togo.
This comes at the heels of similar feat in the area of plantain, with reports that several tons of the foodstuffs were being exported to countries in the sub region.
Other food items such as yam, cowpea, and cassava are also being exported according to records tracking the movements of foodstuffs in some major markets across the country.
The last time Ghana engaged in such exports of agricultural produce apart from cocoa, to other countries was as far back as 2007. But the dwindling fortunes of the agricultural sector between 2009 and 2016 saw a reversal of this development, compelling the country to import tons of these same food items from our neighbouring countries.
However, the rollout of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme has seen tremendous improvement in the sector with the country said to be exporting excess produce to neighbouring countries in the West African subregion.
According to figures collated from 15 districts in four regions, namely Ashanti, Eastern, Volta and Western Regions, about 2,415 and 107,136, tons of yellow and white maize respectively, had been exported to Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in 2018.
According to the same figures which were collated by officials of the various districts who are monitoring the movements of foodstuffs across the country, about 278,492 tons of plantain had also been exported to Togo and Burkina Faso.
Additionally, 24,662 tons of yam had also been exported to Ivory Coast, whilst within the same period, about 12,110 tons of cowpea had been traded between Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The report further indicated that about 308,786 tons of cassava had also left the shores of the country for Togo and Nigeria. These figures are expected to go higher as the team continues to compile reports from other regions across the country.
For example, figures are yet to be received from Bring Ahafo and the three northern regions which are touted as the major food baskets of the country, according to some officials of the Agric Ministry.
These positive developments have been largely attributed to the rollout of the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme which has resulted in the revival of the agricultural sector.
“This indicates positive signals and prospects for the agricultural sector whose growth has doubled since the advent of the NPP administration under His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo,” sources at the Agric Ministry noted.
The Ministry, under the leadership of Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, a renowned farmer and agric economist, has also set its sight on reducing the huge importation of rice into the country in the next five years.
At his recent tour of some rice projects in the Ahafo Ano North District, of the Ashanti Region, he said the country is being positioned to become self-sufficient in rice production.
He explained that this will help to save the huge revenues of the state revenue used to import rice from other countries. He disclosed for instance, that about $3 billion has been spent, in the last three years, to import rice into the country.
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