The Deputy Agricultural Minister, Yaw Frimpong Addo, says the Buffer Stock Company is not well resourced to effectively carry out its main mandate of reducing shocks in the local market during food shortages.

According to him, the Company is reeling under the recent budget cuts that were necessitated by the current economic situation in the country.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition, Yaw Frimpong Addo said, “The Buffer Stock Company was created to do one major thing apart from some other things that it needs to do. It is to have enough resources in terms of cash to buy these foodstuffs around the country at farm gate prices where the prices are a bit low keep them in warehouses and then release them as and when the market calls for it.

“Unfortunately, Buffer Stock is not well resourced to do exactly what they’re supposed to do. So if you talk to the management of Buffer Stock they’ll tell you that they’re trying so hard to get a lot of the foodstuffs in the hinterland, from the farm gates, to keep in the warehouses. It is a major challenge for them.”

Critics of the Buffer Stock Company’s involvement in the Free SHS programme as well as the School Feeding programme have argued that the Company’s role in these projects distracts it from fulfilling its mandate.

Reacting to the claim, the Deputy Minister explained that the decision to involve the Company in these projects was purely on business grounds.

He added that without the support of the Buffer Stock Company, these programmes may not have experienced the level of success they have chalked.

“Not really, because there are astute business guys over there and this is business. You see if you’re able to buy enough at the farm gate, store and supply…because government policy of Free SHS comes with a budget.

“So if you’re a Buffer Stock and you know that if you supply the food to government for the Free SHS you will make some margins on it, then you improve as the years roll on, you improve your financial stock, Buffer Stock should be encouraged to continue doing that, because without them, we wouldn’t have had a very successful implementation of the School Feeding Programme and the Free SHS Programme because of Buffer Stock,” he said.

However, while admitting that their involvement may have placed a strain on their ability to fulfill their core mandate, he noted that should the Company be well resourced, it would be able to meet both demands effectively.

“So they’re combining it. Just that their own capacity has not been enough to be able to mop up all these foods that you’re talking about across the length and breadth of this country.  I mean, if they’re well resourced, I’m sure they could store enough to do both the stocking and supplying to the School Feeding Programme,” he said.

Yaw Addo Frimpong indicated that in the Mid-Year Budget, his outfit will make a serious case to the Finance Ministry to adequately resource the Buffer Stock Company which had also suffered the 20% budget cuts.

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