On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, appeared on Joy FM to discuss topical issues concerning his sector.
The ministry’s flagship project, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), became the most dominant topic of the conversation.
He praised the achievement of the Akufo-Addo-led administration in the agriculture sector, scoring the PFJ a 100%.
“Going back into the history of government expenditure, there’s no government that has spent so much on Agriculture and farmers as the Akufo-Addo government and has had this magnificent impact and it has been internationally acknowledged that this [PFJ] program is running successfully,” he said.
The minister proceeded to make claims about supposed unparalleled achievements of the policy since 1950.
Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claim Dr Akoto made and presents the facts below.
Claim: “We have never been able to produce so much food. You go to the records from 1950, till now…Maize, until we came to office, we have never been able to produce 1.8 million metric tonnes. Don’t forget I was the ranking member of agriculture and cocoa affairs for eight years, so I know the statistics. Last year, we produced 3.1 million metric tonnes.”
Verdict: Completely false
Explanation: Through a right a right to information (RTI) request to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Fact-Check Ghana has established that 12 years ago, under the Mills administration, the country produced more than 1.8 million metric tonnes of the grain. Ghana has since produced more than 1.8 million metric tonnes without any special initiative such as the PFJ, contrary to the Agric Minister claim.
Below is a table showing the annual maize production figures from 2010-2021
Souce: MOFA, 2022
This is not the first time Dr Akoto has made false claims on food production, contrary to figures from his ministry.
In February this year, he misrepresented soyabean and rice production figures before the Akufo-Addo came to power during a meeting with potential investors at a breakfast meeting in Accra.
The one-day event, organised by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, was meant to woo investors into Ghana’s agriculture sector.
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When Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister-designate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament on February 19, 2021, he made some claims about the government’s PFJ programme.
Specifically, the claims he made related to the food security, production of maize, and quantities of fertilizer supplied under the PFJ programme.
“Before we came into office in 2017, the highest amount of production of maize in this country was 1.8 million metric tonnes. And I am talking about 2016, which was the last year before we took over.”
Again, Fact-Check Ghana found that claim and others to be full of falsehood and contradictions.
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