It will be recalled that in April this year, at the launch of the programme for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, President Akufo-Addo reinforced a pledge made by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, that government intends to construct a 1,000 metric tonne-capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts – ‘One District, One Warehouse’.
The purpose of these warehouses, according to President Akufo-Addo, would be to handle produce, as well as to store the anticipated surpluses under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign.
“Today, we commence the fulfilment of this pledge, a project to be supervised by the Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson, MP. The construction of warehouses, under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), will be a major booster in our efforts to guarantee food security and the transformation of the agricultural sector,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 when he cut the sod for the commencement of the project at Ejura, in the Ashanti Region.
IPEP, another campaign promise of my party in the run-up to the December 2016 election, was to provide each of the 275 constituencies with the cedi equivalent of $1 million every year to tackle issues relating to infrastructural development and poverty eradication in rural and deprived communities.
The provision of basic infrastructure, including warehouses, markets, water systems and sanitation facilities, are part of the mandate of IPEP.
The construction of the warehouses in all the districts will not only minimise post-harvest loses, but will improve the marketing of agriculture produce.
The warehouses will help address poor farm-level practices, poor handling, and poor storage activities that exposes our farm produce to moulds, rodents and other pests.
President Akufo-Addo reinforced the commitment of his government to accelerate the construction of the warehouses, and will ensure that each of them is fitted with modern equipment, including drying or freezing systems.
“These warehouses will also be certified to enable them participate in the Warehouse Receipting System, being implemented under Ghana Commodities Exchange project.
“This system will promote financial inclusion of our smallholder farmers. The farmers will be able to deposit their farm produces in these warehouses, and use them to address their financial needs in various ways under the Warehouse Receipt System,” he added.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it is also envisaged that with the successful implementation of the Warehouse Receipt System, many smallholder farmers will no longer have to sell their farm produce immediately after harvest, especially during periods when market prices are generally low. It will further help address the challenges of price volatility.
“The warehouses will also promote our non-traditional exports. Ghanaian farmers will now be able to store their farm produce in the most efficient and effective manner to enable them export, create employment and earn foreign exchange,” he said.
The President continued, “For instance, the incident, which happened to our cashew industry, recently, will be a thing of the past. It was reported recently that Ghana’s cashew risked rejection on the world market, due to the fact that the cashew nuts exported were not properly dried before bagging, as farmers hurriedly sold their cashew nuts at cheaper prices to avoid post-harvest loses.”
It was his expectation that with the construction of these modern warehouses, the private sector will take full advantage to set up industries, to complement our ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative.
“This is a further indication of the commitment of my government to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity,” the President noted.
He assured that “our policies and interventions encompass the full agricultural value chain and create additional businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, processing, packaging and marketing of agricultural produce, all of which will ensure that our farmers and fisher folk earn higher incomes. Improving the quality of life of our farmers is a major objective of my government.”