Tuesday, June 05, 2012

importing food instead of growing it

Rising food prices have been found to be the top-most household worry for most Ghanaians who spend more than half of their earnings on food.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its latest study has found that Ghanaians spend about 62 percent of their incomes on sourcing food, and the situation has been exacerbated in some areas of the country where the cost of such things as rent, and commuting are higher. Ghanaian household expenses on food is 30 times more than what pertains in developed and other western countries.

Ironically, people living in rural Ghana where almost all of the country’s food crops are produced spend more on food than their urban counterparts. Smallholder farmers devoted most of their resources to growing food but their farm productivity is too low to meet all their food needs -- so much of their cash income goes more toward food rather than to other goods.

According to the UNDP, the erosion of the purchasing power of the poor can be severe during spikes in food prices since poor people devote a larger share of their total consumption to food than do wealthier people.

Ghana imports about 500,000 tonnes of tomato-paste a year yet one of the best places to produce tomatoes.

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