Former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Akoto Afriyie, says the government must strongly consider restricting the importation of certain food items into the country to protect Ghanaian farmers and enhance their global competitiveness.

Dr. Owusu Akoto Afriyie emphasized that the government must revisit the issue, despite Parliament rejecting an L.I. aimed at restricting the importation of 22 items in 2023.

Speaking at a forum in Kumasi, he highlighted Ghana’s overreliance on imports, which he said has disadvantaged many farmers, and urged the government to urgently address the situation.

“It is unfortunate that in December 2023, the Ministry of Trade and Industry could not lay a legislative instrument to restrict the import of 22 selected food items, 12 of which are agricultural products that are cultivated by our local farmers. Our farmers are heavily disadvantaged under the current import regime and desperately need a level playing field in order to compete with their counterparts abroad.”

The Export and Import Regulations 2023 sought to restrict the importation of 22 selected strategic products such as sugar, rice, poultry, and tripe into the country.

The Minority Caucus in Parliament kicked against the bill.

Six associations, including the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), also wrote a petition kicking against the bill.

It was subsequently suspended after pressure from the public.

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