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Patrons elated about affordable foodstuff prices at pilot PFJ Market

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) on Friday began a pilot of what it dubs the “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) market” at the premises of the Ministry to bring affordable food products from the hinterlands to eager patrons in the capital.

This initiative is meant to stem the astronomical food cost which shoppers have been enduring in recent month due to the rising cost of living and the depreciation of the cedi against major currencies as well as the constant increase in fuel prices.

The pilot farm market was initially opened to workers in the Ministries enclave, and was well patronised by civil and public servants, as well as regular Ghanaians who had heard of the bazaar.

The bazaar opened just after 8:30am with few bunches of plantain which had been brought in by a pickup truck going for between GH₵15 and GH₵25.

In about 40 minutes the initial bunch of plantain had all been sold to the eager patrons.

Later, a big truckload of fresh plantain from Sehwi in the Western North region, which experienced some delayed also, arrived.

A couple of them spoke expressed their happiness with the initiative taken by the Ministry to bring affordable food stuff unto the market.

Beatrice Boateng, who came from the Spintex Road said she came to the Ministry after hearing about the bazaar on the radio, mainly due to curiosity. She however expressed satisfaction with what she had witness.

She said, “a bunch of plantain in the regular market would have gone for more than GH₵50, but I got these for only GH₵15, so I am happy with this initiative.”

Another patron, Beatrice Asante, who also heard of the initiative on radio, was very happy about the market.

She urged the Ministry to keep up the initiative since the price of the food was much cheaper than is currently available on the open market.

Public Relations Manager of the Ministry, Tanko Bagbara, explained to the media, that the idea of carting foods from the hinterland to the capital had been birthed following a recent five-regional tour embarked upon by the Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to the Western North, Western, Central, Volta and the …

He said, “When the Minister go to Western North, it was clear that we had so much food, to the point that the farmer is unable to break even, and this hurt the Minister. So he started discussions with the technical directors on how we could intervene, and the idea came to pilot what we call the PFJ Market.”

Being the pilot, he explained that the Ministry was only dealing in plantain, on its premises; but had plans to bring on board yam and cocoyam on tomorrow.

He also made it known that local rice was being sold at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park.

He stated that the intention of the Ministry in setting up the PFJ Market is to “salvage the situation as far as farmers’ welfare is concerned, and also prove that indeed in the open market food is expensive, as a result of a number of factors in the value chain that brings about increase in prices, so what we are going to be selling is going to be at an affordable cost where the farmer will not lose out, and where the civil and public servant who is within this enclave will have the opportunity to walk in and acquire a bunch of plantain.”

He again said that the Ministry has planned to establish similar farmers’ markets in the various regions to ensure that the general public has access to affordable foodstuff.

Bagbara debunked assertions that the Ministry has been sluggish in tackling the issue of food scarcity and high food costs, indicating that it had been engaging with other Ministries and other sector agencies to come up with viable measures to deal with the situation.

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