Is Agric Minister using Planting for Food and Jobs mobile market to win votes?

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Ghana’s Agric minister Owusu Afriyie Akoto has had banters with journalists who point out the costly price of foodstuffs such as plantain, yam and rice which the minister maintained weren’t or shouldn’t be costly per his checks.

Food accessibility in Ghana has been less than satisfactory in recent times,” he told parliament.

The price hikes of food commodities in urban areas, especially in Accra, is creating an enormous assertion that food has become inaccessible,” adding the “government and the Ministry are arranging to transport food from the production centres directly to Accra to provide food at reasonable prices.”

The Agricultural economist, also a cabinet minister in the Nana Akufo-Addo regime has supervised the transportation of plantain, yams and rice first sold at the Agric Ministry’s car park which saw enthusiastic Ghanaians make purchases with some acknowledging a finger of plantain which would have cost GHc30 in their neighbourhoods selling for GHc15.

Agric minister, Hon. Akoto Afriyie

On the back of the massive patronage, the ministry has extended the Planting for Food and Jobs Market to the Makola market – the popular West African market with women as key financers.

While the Agric ministry’s showcase went relatively well, the Makola session saw agitated men and women rushing for the food stuffs on offer so much so that media reports say fire officers and the police had to step in to restore order.

A few questions arise?

As a Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ghana since 2017, has Owusu Afriyie Akoto’s leadership led to food sufficiency such that market women don’t have to import tomatoes from Burkina Faso, beans from Niger, white kola from Nigeria etc?

With an eye on contesting the New Patriotic Party’s presidential race, is it fair to say this is a populist move to point to something in hopes of bolstering his chances?

What is the budget drawn by the Agric and Finance ministries regarding the logistics involved with trucks carting produce from the farm gates to the capital? This on the heels of government’s accounting on the COVID funds, COVID-19 food palliatives and ‘free’ electricity supply during the lockdown many have found to be suspect.

With the chaos witnessed at Makola, the question arises as to how sales can be made in an orderly manner so security officers such as fire, police and army officers can undertake their core duties without being called to help sell plantain.

Then there’s the question of where the proceeds from the sale go?

The flagbearership position has coughed up notable names including Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Trades Minister, Alan Kyeremanten whom Baffour Akoto’s son Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto will battle.

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