A woman selling tomatoes at a market in Dedza, Malawi, along the border with Mozambique.
Former ESOKO COO Nana Okyir Baidoo said that while short-term solutions are currently needed to tackle food inflation in the country, the government should pay more attention to long-term solutions.
According to him, the current food inflation crisis, although partly the result of the falling cedi and rising fuel prices, is mainly a structural problem that needs to be addressed.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Nana Okyir Baidoo said, “There are quick fixes. It may get so bad that we’ll start doing things like price controls, or we might start restricting food exports – which we’ve started doing. But these are short-term solutions.
“What is happening is a structural problem which is exacerbated by other fractions such as the increase in fuel prices and then the depreciation of our currency. What we really need to do is solve the systemic price of our productivity.
“If we are able to produce more locally and export less, we are likely to be somewhat insulated from the effects of rising currency and fuel prices.”
To stop the current food inflation, he says it may be time for the government to step up its short-term solutions to reduce the burden on local consumers, without giving up solutions to resolve the crisis once and for all.
“And so for me, I think the short-term fixes are probably necessary, but that’s not the way to go. It’s investing in high-yielding varieties, investing in plants that will give us agricultural products and inputs like fertilizers and so on. locally, it will help us not to depend on phosphates from China which have been banned since last year.
“Things like that will go a long way to solving this problem in the long run, just like we did for dumsor in 2012/13 and we don’t have a dumsor problem now. I think the same level of investment, the same level of urgency needs to be addressed to solve this structural productivity problem that we have,” he said.