A fierce critic of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed shock at President Akufo-Addo’s claim that Ghana never encountered food shortage in the face of the pandemic and border closure.
Dr. Clement Apaak, the Member of Parliament for Builsa South, said he screamed at the top of his voice when he heard the President make such comments.
The legislator said he could not believe that the President stood before parliamentarians to peddle falsehoods that Ghana no longer import tomatoes when it was the opposite.
He quizzed if the president was unaware of the strike action by importers of tomatoes from Burkina Faso following attacks staged on them by armed robbers recently.
The President in his SONA stated that Ghana’s food resilience was tested when the covid-19 virus hit the country, but we managed to depend on what we produced here and di not import even tomatoes.
”Mr. Speaker, our nation’s food resilience has been severely tested over the past year. The closure of borders, in the midst of the pandemic, meant that we have had to depend largely on food we produced. We have fared well under the circumstances, largely as a result of the bold policies implemented by Government since 2017, such as the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, the 1-Village-1-Dam initiative, 1-District-1-Warehouse policy, establishment of greenhouse villages, revitalisation of the cocoa rehabilitation programme, and the reactivation of our aquaculture industry. I am happy to inform the House that, during this period of the pandemic, we have experienced no food shortages in the country.
There have been increases in maize and rice yields by one hundred and ten percent (110%) and forty-eight percent (48%) respectively. We have, for the first time in a long while, become a net exporter of food, as opposed to the days of importation of tomatoes and plantain. Indeed, in 2019, we exported some one hundred and forty thousand metric tons (140,000 MT) to our neighbours. We are determined to take full advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to produce more in Ghana, to sell more to Africa and beyond, as we move Ghana Beyond Aid.”
But in his reaction, Dr. Apaak said the President has once again lied about food importation in the country like he did when he delivered his last SONA for his first term.
”Shocking, NADAA just said again that Ghana doesn’t import food items such as tomatoes in his address to the nation on going before the 8th Parliament. Ghanaians know we import tomatoes from Burkina Faso! So, NADAA is unaware of the strike by the tomatoes importers?”
At least 6 traders have died in highway attacks while they were en route to Burkina Faso to buy tomatoes, a situation that compelled the association to embark on a strike to drum home their frustration.
The Inspector-General of Police James Oppong-Boanuh in February assured tomato traders and transporters of police and military escort to protect them against highway robbery.
Dr. Apaak, in his reaction, added: ”I screamed when I heard the President say that Ghana did not encounter any food shortage. Is he not aware that tomato traders recently went on strike? Is he not aware that some traders were killed on their way to import tomato into Ghana?? This is shocking, and I think the President should apologise to Ghanaians and the traders for peddling lies. This is not good. He is the President and should not be peddling lies”.