Outgoing US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, who made the call on Tuesday, July 24 at a press conference in Accra, said “Ghana is still importing far more food than it should, given its capacity.”
He encouraged the country to be more self-reliant in food production to help reduce its bill on the importation of food.
According to him, increasing investment in agriculture is key to ensuring food security in Ghana.
The Akufo-Addo administration has been working hard to improve the local production of food through the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy.
Government, in 2017, set a target to reduce the volume of rice imported into the country by between 6 and 10 percent by the end of that year.
It’s estimated that Ghana imports about $500 million worth of rice annually, representing about 70 percent of rice consumption in the country.
The government planned to use the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy to reduce the rice import volume in 2017.
The initiative, according to the Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who addressed the media recently, was able to drastically reduce maize imports, as well as lower the prices of corn on the domestic market in the first year of implementation.
Under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative, government would support one million farmers across the country over the next four years.
The move is to help the country reduce its reliance on food imports that cost about $2.2 billion annually.
President Akufo-Addo in 2017 described Ghana’s food import bill as “simply scandalous.
The US believes with more work, Ghana could reverse the trend and ensure food security in the country.
Mr Jackson, who lauded the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, said that “in agriculture, we continue to invest in the three Northern Regions and the fishing industry and those investments are helping to take people out of poverty.
“We still have a lot of work to do in the agricultural sector and we continue to invest in everything from the quality and quantity of cocoa to grains, palm oil.”
“These are important investments and as you know, Ghana is still importing far more food than it should, given its capacity,” he said.
He revealed that the US Government’s sponsored poultry project in Ghana was making significant progress in producing more eggs, chicks and chickens.
Mr. Jackson explained that “that industry is becoming more sustainable so that companies like KFC can source locally and that reduces Ghana’s import as well.”