… “So maybe when you sit in Accra and then try to determine the inflation rate in Ahafo for us, I don’t think we will agree, we will not. Because so far as Ahafo is concerned food is no problem and we can supply Ghana food.”
The Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr George Boakye, has challenged aspects of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) figures released months ago, which stated that food inflation in the region is 15.4%.
According to the Minister, there is abundance of food in the region and some are even getting rotten and, therefore, wondered where the GSS got the figures from.
Mr Boakye, who was speaking at a press conference organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday, said a visit to some of the market places in the region would reveal the fact that there is abundance of food in the region and hence expressed his surprise as to how the GSS arrived at the figure it put out.
“When the Statistical Service came out with the food inflation of 15.4%, I said to myself, I will not agree because go to Ahafo and see, go to Techere, tomatoes are getting rotten, pepper and everything is there, yam, go to Goaso market today, then tomorrow go to Sankore, go to Kasapee, go to Hwidiem,…go there and see, food is getting rotten.
“So maybe, when you sit in Accra and then try to determine the inflation rate in Ahafo for us, I don’t think we will agree, we will not. Because so far as Ahafo is concerned, food is no problem and we can supply Ghana food.”
The Minister noted yesterday that, the reason why the region, touted as the food basket of the country is unable to supply food to surrounding communities and the country as a whole is due to poor road network and unavailability of buyers.
He stressed on the buyer scarcity as the major challenge explaining that even when the farmers manage to bring the foodstuffs to the market to sell, they do not get people to buy them and that is why the food stuffs get rotten on the market.
Proffering solution to the problem, Mr Boakye said that investment in the agriculture sector in the region would go a long way to enable the region supply enough food for the country and even export some for foreign exchange.
“Most of the farms are in the villages and access to most of these farms is very difficult because of the nature of the roads that we have. But in spite of this, we manage to bring the food stuffs onto the market, but our major challenge is buyers.
“I also want to use this opportunity to appeal to Ghanaians and all other investors to come to Ahafo and invest. We are in the food season now, we have a lot of plantain getting rotten, whereas we can add value to some of these and export them outside to earn the needed foreign exchange.
“So I am here appealing to Ghanaians through this medium that anybody who is willing to invest in plantain industry to come to Ahafo. Not only plantain but in food. Today is Wednesday, go to Goaso market and see, some of the food stuffs will be left at the market to get rotten.”
All structures that make a region have been put in place
Aside the issue of food, the Minister also used yesterday’s briefing to project some investment the Akufo-Addo administration has made since the creation of the region. It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo in 2018 created six news regions, in addition to the existing ten. The Ahafo region was one of the new regions.
Addressing the media, Mr Boakye noted that one of the purposes for the creation of the region, which was to bring governance closer to the people, has been achieved.
He said “all the departments, institutions and agencies are established and fully functional in the region. Therefore, citizens no longer have to travel long distances to Sunyani and other places to access simple everyday services, as hitherto was the case.”
Establishment of a University in the region
The Ahafo regional noted that plans are in place to establish a university, with the focus of educating students in science, mathematics, technology and engineering
“…To provide access to tertiary education to the citizens in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a proposed university for Ahafo has been initiated.”
Mr Boakye noted that land has already been acquired for the establishment of the university and said construction would commence soon.
Investment in education
Aside the establishment of the university, the Minister also outlined some other investment the government has made in the educational sector in the region.
He indicated that government, with funding from GET Fund in 2020, commenced the construction of a New Senior High School (SHS) with focus on science and technology at Akrodie, while government through the Ministry of Education has also invested in the establishment of a state of the art Technical and Vocational Education Training Centre at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District.
He continued that the government has also provided 10 medium size buses, 2 large buses and 1 pickup to SHSs in the Region and has provided 6 pickups for the municipal/district education directorates.
Additionally, the regional education directorate has received a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado to facilitate their operations, the Minister said.
Mr Boakye also noted that government has undertaken numerous infrastructural projects, including the construction of classroom blocks, dormitory blocks, assembly halls, administration blocks and teachers’ quarters, as well as dining halls among others in the region.
The Minister noted that all these developments have created both access and quality for children in the region and has impacted positively on the lives of the Ahafo people.
Investment in health
Mr George Boakye also observed that another sector the government has invested tremendously is the health sector. The Minister said that currently, the construction of a poly clinic at Mim and an infectious disease centre at Gaoso are underway.
Also the government flagship Agenda 111 hospital projects has taken off in the region. He noted that the contractors have mobilised to site and construction at Kukuom and Kenyasi are both at the substructure stage.