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Ghana exports GH¢400m food items

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Ghana exports GH¢400m food items

Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has revealed that Ghana exported 150,000 metric tonnes (MT) of food items worth GH¢400 million to neighbouring countries, including Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Northern Nigeria, last year.

GH¢3.3 billion generated at the farm-gate

Additionally, he said the ministry generated GH¢3.3 billion at the farm-gate from 667,000 farmers who participated in the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ) initiative, and created 740,000 jobs in the rural economy under the flagship programme.

Government to end rice imports by 2023

At a media briefing in Accra to announce government’s plans to transform the rice industry and ensure self-sufficiency by 2023, he said government is poised to increase domestic rice production from the current 456,000 MT of milled rice in 2018 to 1,665,000 MT by 2023.

He said government anticipates an increase in rice production to address the current deficit of 656,000 MT to a surplus of 365,230 MT by 2023.

6,825 MT of certified rice seeds to be distributed in 2019

Additionally, a total of 6,825 MT of certified rice seeds is envisaged to be distributed to farmers in the 2019 planting season.

The Minister noted that in 2015 alone, government imported $1.5 billion rice, and believes that boosting domestic rice production would reduce government’s rice import expenditure.

In view of that, he said, Government of Ghana signed a $150 million loan facility with the Eximbank of India for an agriculture mechanisation programme three weeks ago.

The chunk of the funds was expected to go into acquisition of rice milling machines from India and China for distribution to farmers to increase rice production and reduce the import of the commodity.

Outlining some of the interventions to increase rice production, the Minister said government would strengthen the capacity of smallholder rice farmers to adopt good cultural practices, access to domestic market, and improve extension delivery.

In the beginning of the 2017 rice growing season, he said, a total of 1,698 MT of rice seeds were made available for cultivation while 2,400 MT were given to rice farmers in 2018.

243,000 MT of fertilisers to farmers under PFJ

Therefore, government supplied 164,000 MT of subsidised fertilisers to farmers in 2017 and 243,000 MT of fertilisers were supplied to farmers under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.

Currently, the Minister said, government was supplying various types of equipment for developing valleys for rice cultivation, including seeders, harvesters, thresher and rice mills to intensify rice cultivation.

2,700 Agriculture extension agents recruited

More so, a total of 2,700 agriculture extension agents had been recruited to augment farmers’ outreach programme for technology transfer.

3,000 Motorbikes and 216 vehicles deployed

Consequently, 3,000 motorbikes and 216 vehicles had been deployed to support the agriculture sector nationwide.

Responding to Ghana’s self-imposed ban of some leafy vegetables to the international market, he said it was a self-policing action in view of the ban placed on the nation by the European Union (EU) in October 2015, which was lifted on December 31, 2018 after meeting the standards set by the EU.

Therefore, government instituted the action to enforce regulation on vegetable export and to ensure zero export of vegetables infested with insects and organisms so that the nation wouldn’t suffer another ban.

He said government would meet vegetable exporters next week to inform them about measures it had taken to enforce the regulations.

Mechanisation intervention

He said government is expanding availability of various types of equipment that are suitable for developing valleys for rice cultivation.

Further to that, other farm power inputs such as seeders, weeders, harvesters, threshers, and rice mills are being made available to support expanded and intensified rice cultivation.

Extension delivering intervention

The Minister stated that a total of 2,700 agricultural extension agents have been recruited to augment the farmers’ outreach for technology transfer. In addition, 3,000 motorbikes and 216 vehicles have been deployed to support the agriculture sector nationwide.

Government would not ban importation of rice

The Minister, however, stated that government will not ban the importation of rice into the country after it reaches self-sufficiency.

“We are very competitive because we use labour-intensive methods, which are cheap and meet international standards.

“They are using higher capital-intensive method, and that gives us an advantage in the local market, and no need for local farmers to worry about competition,” he assured.

Source: thefinderonline.com

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Africa’s three richest men have more wealth than the poorest 650m people across the continent

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Africa’s three richest men have more wealth than the poorest 650m people across the continent

Three African billionaires today have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent, reveals a new Oxfam report today.

The report, called “A Tale of Two Continents”, is launched as African political and business leaders gather this week for the World Economic Forum Africa meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. It shows how rising and extreme inequality across Africa is undermining efforts to fight poverty.

A Tale of Two Continents reveals that while the richest Africans fortunes are increasing, extreme poverty is rising in the continent. The report also looks at how unsustainable levels of debt and a rigged international tax system are depriving African governments of billions of dollars in lost revenue each year – money that could otherwise be invested in education, healthcare and social protection.

The continent is rapidly becoming the epicentre of global extreme poverty. While the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day has plummeted in Asia, this number is rising in Africa. The World Bank estimates that 87% of the world’s extreme poor will be in Africa by 2030, if current trends continue.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:

“Africa is ready to rise – but only once it’s leaders have the courage to back a more human economy that works for the many and not a few super-rich men. They can achieve this by investing in inequality-busting, universal and quality public services like health and education and by developing truly progressive tax systems. These are particularly powerful for women and girls living in poverty. They can also back a transformation towards decent and dignified work that protects the rights of workers, especially in the age of the African Free Trade Area and the new digital era.”

The report features a first-ever ranking of African nations on their commitment to tackling inequality. The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, developed by Oxfam and Development Finance International, ranks countries on their policies on social spending, tax, and labour rights – three areas the organizations say are critical to reducing inequality. South Africa and Namibia take first and second place respectively, with their strong social spending and a progressive tax system. Nigeria meanwhile has an unenviable distinction of being at the bottom of the Africa ranking, as well as the global ranking for two years running.

The report shows that:

3 African billionaires now have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent

The most unequal country in the region, Swaziland, is home to one billionaire, Nathan Kirsh, who is estimated to have $4.9bn. If he worked in one of the restaurants that his wholesale company supplies on a worker’s minimum wage, it would take him 5.7 million years to earn his current level of wealth

The combined wealth of the 5 richest Nigerians is more than enough to end poverty in Nigeria. Nigeria’s girl population makes up 60% of the more than 10 million children who do not go to school.

75% of the wealth of African multi-millionaires and billionaires is held offshore, as result the continent is losing $14billion annually in uncollected tax revenue.

Dangerous and unsustainable levels of debt are hurting social spending. In 2018, Angola spent 57% of government revenue on debt repayments while public spending was cut by 19% between 2016 and 2018. Similar trends are present in Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon and Mozambique

African women and girls are also most likely to be poor. They also stand to lose the most when public services like healthcare and education are underfunded. In Kenya, a boy from a rich family has a one-in-three chance of continuing his studies beyond secondary school. However, a girl from a poor family has a 1-in-250 chance of doing so. Women and girls also bear the brunt of failing healthcare systems, clocking in hours of unpaid care work looking after sick relatives. In Malawi, women spend seven times the amount of time on unpaid care work than men.

Ms Byanyima said:

“African political and business leaders face a clear choice. They can stay on the path of increasingly extreme inequality, where poverty continues to rise while wealth in the hands of a tiny elite and foreign companies’ spirals. Or they can choose another way: towards a more prosperous and equal Africa that invests in and respects the dignity of all its people.”

Source: Oxfam International

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Breaking!!! Transport fares to go up by 10%

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Breaking!!! Transport fares to go up by 10%

The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) says effective September 16, public transport fares will go up by 10 per cent.

Explaining the basis for the increment, the Union said the various components that go into the running of commercial transport services has gone up.

“This is to accommodate predominantly an increase in fuel prices,” Kwame Kuma, the National Chairman of GPRTU said in a statement, Tuesday.

For some time now, the Union has called for an increment in their fares as prices of spare parts have gone up.

The increased fares will cover intra-city (trotro), intercity (long-distance ride) and shared taxis.

Mr Kuma advised all members of the Union to comply with the “new fares and post the fare list at the loading terminals so as to avoid any confrontation with the travelling public.”

The last time fares were increased was in January 2018.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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Tema Aflao road to be expanded into six lanes – Expert

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Tema Aflao road to be expanded into six lanes - Expert

The Tema-Aflao road which forms part of the Abidjan Lagos corridor will be expanded from the current two (2) lanes to six (6) lanes, an environmental and climate climate change consultant, has revealed.

“This means that the width of the road will take 100 meters with 50 meters on each side. The Lower Volta Bridge at Sogakorpe in the Volta Region will be expanded as well, “Mr Divine Odame Appiah told stakeholders at a consultation forum on the proposed construction.

The Ada West District falls into the ECOWAS’s Abidjan to Lagos Highway expansion alignment hence the engagement to discuss how its enhance the positive effects and mitigate the negatives on the people.

He said, “The Abidjan – Lagos Corridor Road is a highway divided into three(3) Lots. Lot 1 is from Abidjan in Ivory Coast to Apemenim in the Western Region of Ghana. Lot 2 starts from Apemenim to Akanu in the Volta Region of Ghana and Lot 3 falls from Akanu to Lagos in Nigeria. PEARL Consultancy has been awarded Lot 2.

We are therefore here to gather information to do what we call scoping reports to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ” He explained

According to him, “There are five Regions, Western, Central, Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta regions with 14 districts in all which have been captured within the alignment of the exercise. Sege, Koluedor, Adokorpe, Kasseh and communities along the road will be affected in the Ada West and East districts.”

Compensation

He said, “Because of this, ECOWAS will compensate owners of various properties that may be affected either in cash or in kind if only one can claim ownership of the said property with evidence of documentation, approved by the district assembly.

This action is in line with World Bank and African Developments Bank’s regulations and Ghanaian laws which reinforce the fact that property that will be destroyed should be replaced or, compensation must be awarded to the owner.”

Impacts

Both positive and negative impacts were realised during the open forum.

The stakeholders identified some positive impacts as, movement within and outside the district to other places like Tema, Accra, Abidjan, Togo and even Nigeria will be very easy and time saving.

They said, this move will attract businesses to the district and will also boost trading activities, economic activities will improve and will reduce the rate of accidents as drivers will be comfortable when driving,

Others expressed fears that prices of plots of land and rents would rise.

They said the development would bring about kidnapping, child abuse and other malpractices by foreigners in communities along the road.

Inputs

The stakeholders suggested that education on the exercise must reach every corner of the affected districts to create proper awareness to the indigenes to prevent distractions during the exercise.

Also, write ups on the exercise should be pasted at the various district assembly’s premises, church premises and even the community radio and information centres for clear understanding of everything.

They also wanted the assembly to make property registration flexible so that everyone could have access to documents backing the ownership of their properties.

Meanwhile, PEARL Consultancy is expected to finish their work in mid 2021.

Source: ghananewsagency.org

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