Ken Ofori Atta says this could lead to inflation in food prices

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta is predicting food shortage in the country if the new coronavirus pandemic persists.

“General shortage in food supply is anticipated if the pandemic intensifies. This could lead to inflation in food prices, especially rice, bread, poultry and other meat products, vegetables, sugar and other commodities,” Mr. Ofori Atta told Parliament in an address on what is being done to keep the economy intact in the light of the virus’ spread.

“Disruptions could limit farmers’ access to inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers and insecticides, uncertainty and fear could negatively impact planting decisions; and also a reduction in the volume of main agricultural exports, as a result of the general downturn in global economic activity due to the pandemic,” he said.

“Though the impact on agriculture may not be severe, since agriculture does not require significant imported intermediate goods, growth could still be a slow-down as a result of disruptions in the supply chain and lower demand activities,” Mr. Ofori Atta added.

Ghana has recorded 5 deaths and more than 150 cases of Covid-19, forcing President Akufo-Addo to direct a lockdown of Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. Besides essential service providers, everyone is being forced to stay home. On the impact of the situation on food security, Mr. Ofori Atta told MPs “the picture is grim.”

He, however, says the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to boost domestic production and consumption of some food commodities such as rice, maize, cassava, yam and chicken.

He said the plan is for Ghana to use the opportunity to increase the production and export of commodities for which the country has comparative advantage into trade within the West African region.