Investigate claims of food hoarding

Food is very essential element for growth and proper functioning of human beings, because it provides us with the nutrient for our daily activities and for growth.

Perhaps, after air and water, food is the next basic need for the survival of human beings.

We are, therefore, stunned at the observation last week by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Food Buffer (GNFB), Alhaji Hannan Abdul-Wahab, that the rising prices of various commodities on the market is due to an artificial shortage of food in the country.

The CEO said this when the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, paid a courtesy call on him in Accra.

Alhaji Abdul-Wahab was emphatic when he told the Speaker: “There is enough food on the market, but some middlemen are holding on to the food commodities just to create artificial shortage. Controlling food supply is a great weapon. If we do not take care, some few people would hold the entire country to ransom.”

The GNFB boss would certainly not be speaking in vacuum, given that hoarding is not new to us; it is part of our unscrupulous business practices.

The Ghanaian Times recalls that prior to the revolution in the early 80s and even in the early part of it, this unhealthy business practice, known as “kalabule”, to wit hoarding, was a canker that had eaten deep into the fabric of society.

The current escalation in the prices of food items is a matter of public concern that continues to attract articles in the media expressing worry about it.

We have noted an article written by an academic and published in one of our daily papers describing the unprecedented food price hikes in the country as “greed inflation”.

He seeks to infer that price hikes are unacceptable and greed-induced practice.

The writer postulates that “In the spirit of the torrential rains experienced lately, one would expect that prices of food items would fall because of the expectations of a bumper harvest. But this is not the case.”

Another writer also accuses market operators of taking undue advantage of transport fare hikes, occasioned by rise in prices of petroleum products to inflict more pain on the ordinary Ghanaian in terms of unbridled increases in prices of basic food items, where even transport cost and Russian-Ukraine war are not factors.

In the view of the Ghanaian Times, God has blessed our country with abundance of natural resources, including fertile lands for agriculture productivity.

It is, therefore, strange that the country would experience escalating food prices.

This paper is aware of factors militating against agriculture productivity and the structural challenges of our economy, but that notwithstanding, the continuous rising prices of food items without any sign of it abating, even in the rainy season, are unexpected and strange.

We at the Ghanaian Times are calling for investigations into the claim of hoarding to cause artificial shortage of food items to raise prices, to give opportunity to those who are perceived to be perpetrating the obnoxious practice save their  dignity or otherwise.

We also urged the government to do everything in its power to address the factors militating against our food systems such that the precarious situation of rising prices does not show signs of abating.

Again, we suspect that the middlemen are gatecrashing the farm gates, purchasing at cheap prices the food items from the poor farmer who cannot transport them to the market, and selling at much higher prices to the consumer.

Therefore, we encourage everyone one of us to make use of every available piece of land, including those at our backyard, to do backyard garden to grow food to feed ourselves in order to weaken the food hoarder in his exploitative act.

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