The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, has blamed transportation and infrastructural challenges for the recent shortage of cassava in the country.
He argues that these factors have also impeded the supply chain of the produce which has led to the shortage.
The Deputy Minister’s comment follows recent reports of shortage of cassava on the various markets across the country.
As a result, the price of the commodity has been increasing for some time now and it is now selling at 7 cedis 60 pesewas for three to four tubers.
“…know that it is a distribution problem which is wider than the mandate of the ministry. There are transport issues, there are infrastructure issues, and there is remoteness of mushy areas in relation to markets. These are all things that are outside the mandate of the ministry,” Dr. Alhassan told Citi Business News.
The Deputy Minister further explained that, the country produced about 17 million tonnes of cassava last year, which he says is enough to meet demand for this year.
“As at last year, the country produced 17 million metric tonnes of cassava and we need just about 10million metric tonnes to feed the Ghanaian populace,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Dr. Alhassan has advocated private sector participation to solve what he describes as a systemic challenge facing the agric sector.
“Ghanaians should use their resources to invest in agriculture as that is the only way to keep the system running. If we leave it only to the public sector, I am afraid there will always be shortage of funds and we will always have to rely on some external partners to give us the money sometimes as credit that we will have to pay with high interest rates,” he observed.
Weather pattern affected crop yield
USAID technical advisor at the Agric Ministry, Kwesi Korboe had also allayed fears of a shortage of the cassava on the market.
He attributed the situation to the seasonal nature of the crop and the delay of the onset of rains this year.
According to Mr. Korboe, available data shows that 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 contribute to prices going up but you can’t say there is shortage of cassava,” he added.
MP blames government
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.
By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana