For instance, at the Ejura Market in the Ejura Sekyeredumase municipality in the Ashanti Region alone, about 2,008 tonnes of yellow maize and 2,174 tonnes of white maize were exported to Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, respectively, at the end of 2018.
According to data at MoFA, the Ejura Sekyeredumase Municipal Department of Agriculture had reported that an additional 1,291 tonnes and 144 tonnes of cowpea were exported to Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, respectively, while 296.88 tonnes of yam went to Cote d’Ivoire alone.
Substantiating the fact that the two countries relied on Ghana for some food supplies, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in an interview in Accra, said six other food commodities, totalling about 351,562 tonnes, were exported to Burkina Faso alone in 2018.
Documentation at the Abofour Market in the Offinso municipality in the Ashanti Region shows the impressive export of agricultural commodities to the two countries.
Providing market information from the Department of Agriculture in the Offinso Municipal Assembly, Dr Akoto said 13,394 tonnes of plantain were exported from the Abofour Market to Burkina Faso.
He said at the same market, 16,413 tonnes of banana were exported to Burkina Faso in 2018.
Between May and October 2018, between 1,200 and 1,912 tonnes of banana were exported to Burkina Faso, he added.
Dr Akoto said about 3,275 tonnes of citrus and 1,465 metric tonnes of pawpaw were carted from the same market to Burkina Faso in 2018.
For ginger, he said 1,655 tonnes were exported, while 2,294 tonnes of palm fruits and 2,207 metric tonnes of palm oil were all exported to Burkina Faso.
He said even though the ministry was yet to collate market information throughout the country, it was obvious that there was a significant export of agricultural commodities to the neighbouring countries.
Citing figures from the Tumu Market in the Upper West Region, Dr Akoto said 11,187 tonnes of food produce, including white and yellow maize, sorghum, soya beans, cowpea, banana, gari, orange and yam, were exported to Burkina Faso alone.
Excitement of ministry
Dr Akoto was excited that such quantity of food was moving out of the country in terms of exports to neighbouring countries.
“I engineered this whole research to strengthen the case that we are making fantastic progress with the Planting for Food and Jobs,” he explained, adding that it was an indication that “we are getting it right”.
He said the collation of figures would be extended to previous years to find out the trend of food items that left the country by way of exports to neighbouring countries.
Dr Akoto described the data as “high quality data” from the primary source at the markets provided for the district assemblies.
He said officials of the ministry were moving from one market to another to collate the data to inform future planning.
Planting for Food and Jobs
“The essence of this exercise is to tell the world that the Planting for Food and Jobs programme has brought about so much food in the system that we are now exporting food to neighbouring countries,” Dr Akoto said.
He said the next stage was for the ministry to look at agro processing in order to add value to the farm produce.