The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is considering providing fuel subsidies to transportation companies and their owners to enable them convey foodstuffs to market centers.
The cost of transporting food from the production areas to urban centers is anticipated to be reduced by giving transporters subsidised fuel vouchers.
In Sunyani, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, stated that this has become essential due to the rising costs of food in urban areas, which, according to food retailers, was caused by the rising cost of transportation.
“We are fashioning out modalities so that a way will be found to cut down the transportation cost of foodstuffs, so that foodstuffs will be sold cheaper in the satellite markets and thereby force down prices in the traditional markets,” the minister explained.
He added that although food was generally more affordable at marketplaces in farming areas, it had become more expensive in urban areas.
He described how, as part of the measures, the ministry would arrange for the transportation of food from the farming regions to a few selected urban centres, where it would be sold in bulk at reasonable prices to force the open market prices to drop.
Dr. Akoto stated that municipal and metropolitan assemblies in the selected urban regions would be requested to set up satellite markets from which wholesalers, retailers, and consumers would purchase foodstuff.
“Comparing prices in the producing and the consuming areas, the difference is about three times,” Dr Akoto said.
He indicated that with a basket of tomatoes in a farming area going for GH¢150, it was unbelievable that the same basket of the commodity was selling between GH¢400 and GH¢500 in Kumasi.
He said this action was taken in response to a stakeholders’ meeting held in Accra to discuss ways to lower the rising costs of food in urban areas.