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Government Urged To Restrict Imports Of Food Produce4 min read

Government Urged To Restrict Imports Of Food Produce<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">4</span> min read</span>


A former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Akoto Afriyie has observed, the only means of empowering and increasing the income of the local farmer is to introduce an import restriction ban on food products.

Speaking at the launch of 70th anniversary of the Faculty of Agriculture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the former Kwadaso lawmaker said Ghana has the ability to produce more than it consumes with the right investments.

“There is the need for urgent attention on the issue of food imports. Our farmers are heavily disadvantaged under the current import regime. They (farmers) desperately need a level playing field in order to compete effectively with their counterparts abroad,” Dr Akoto Afriyie explained.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry in December 2023, presented a legislative instrument which sought to restrict the importation of 22 strategic products, including poultry, rice, sugar, and tripe (animal intestines) among others.

The import restriction bill, according to the sector minister, Kobina Tahir Hammond was aimed at protecting local farmers and manufacturers of the affected items.

The Ministry was concerned that, Ghana imports over $200 million worth of animal intestines, annually.

The bill was later withdrawn after it faced opposition from importers and the Minority in Parliament.

But Dr Akoto Afriyie is suggesting the re-introduction of the import restriction bill on food products to protect local farmers.

“It is unfortunate the Ministry of Trade and Industry could not lay a legislative instrument in Parliament to restrict the importation of the food items. 12 of these items are agricultural products which are cultivated by farmers in Ghana. Our legislators must act as a matter of urgency to restrict these imports which are being dumped on the Ghanaian market against the interest of our farmers,” he suggested.

Adding his voice to the call, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang also raised concern about the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars to imports food we can grow in Ghana.

“We need to improve our agriculture and cut out imports of food. We should rather be in a position to export. We just have to commercialize our agriculture and understand that the way forward is to provide the necessary assistance to farmers to increase productivity,” Mr. Owusu-Agyemang proposed.

Hackman Owusu-Agyemang

Giving his remarks at the same ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo said Ghana stands a chance of saving billions of Ghana cedis if food imports are limited.

“Currently, Ghana imports GHC1 billion of poultry and about GHC1.7 billion of rice. We have the potential of retaining this money in the country with the right investment. That is why government is strengthening phase two of the planting for food and jobs targeted at increasing productivity and creating jobs,” he said.

Yaw Frimpong Addo

Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Rita Akosua Dickson expressed the readiness of the University to help in mitigating the devastating effect of climate change.

Professor Rita Akosua Dickson

“It is instructive to note that new frontiers of agriculture have emerged coupled with the negative effect of climate change and the need for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“As a leading science and technology University in Ghana, we have a charge to keep to ensure that technology is working as we keep our eyes on food security and all issues related to agriculture,” she said.

The Faculty of Agriculture anniversary has been themed ‘Celebrating 70 years of KNUST’s global impact in Agriculture.’