President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the launch on Wednesday of his One-District One-Warehouse initiative at Ejura in the Ashanti Region marks the beginning of a drive to reduce huge food imports.
The launch of the project was part of events to mark the 37th World Food Day by the United Nations under the theme, “Change the Future of Migration-Invest in Food Security and Rural Development”.
President Akufo-Addo revealed that the objective of the Warehouse initiative was to increase production of staples like maize by 30 per cent, rice by 25 per cent, sorghum by 28 per cent and soya bean by 25 per cent.
The programme is forms part of the larger component of government’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP).
According to the President, the government will ensure the warehouses are equipped with modern equipment including drying and freezing systems.
“The warehouses will be certified to enable them to participate in the Warehousing Receipt System by the commodities exchange systems,” he announced.
The President believes the initiative will promote financial inclusion of all the smallholder farmers as they will be able to deposit their farm produce in these warehouses and be able to lease them to address their financial needs.
With the successful implementation of the system, farmers will no longer sell their produce at cheaper prices.
“They can store their produce in a more efficient and effective manner. They can keep the crop to meet international standards. Warehousing will promote non-traditional exports,” he said.
The project is expected to handle produce and take care of the surpluses that will come from the planting for food and jobs initiative launched earlier this year.
He believes it will also address the problem of internal migration and food security which summed up the theme for the celebration of the World Food Day.
The warehouse program will see to the construction of a 1000 metric tonnes capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts across the country.
Farmers have often been challenged with a lack of a warehouse to store their produce after harvesting, causing huge post-harvest losses.
To avoid the situation, worried farmers are compelled to sell the produce at cheaper prices else they lose.
Gifty Ndoma, a young farmer with 45 acres of maize farm and 30 acres of soya bean, says the warehousing initiative coupled with other agriculture initiatives by the government will address the issue of post-harvest loses confronting the work of the hardworking farmers.
Meanwhile, a representative of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO), Bukari Tijani; another from the World Food Program, Rukia Yacoub; and the representative of the UN Secretary-General, DR. Christine Evan Klock, reiterated the need for Ghana and Africa to promote agriculture to address internal migration that end up affecting food security.
Minister for Special Development Initiative, Mavis Hawa Koomson, says the government will continue to develop innovative programmes to uplift the economic standing of its citizenry.
As part of the event, President laid the first block for the foundation of the first warehouse at Ejura which is a maize dominated farming community.
A new logo for the One-District, One-Warehouse initiative was also launched at the event.