Prices of rice, wheat and flour, have all doubled on the local market, reflecting international food price increases and shortages.
The price of local rice, popularly called, “brown rice” has also increased.
The issue of global shortages and increases in the prices of grain, termed the “global food crisis) was one of the issues that took centre stage at the just ended 12th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Accra.
In the aftermath of the conference the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon today set up a special taskforce to deal with the situation which is expected to result in famine in some areas and de-accelerate the gains made so far in some developing countries.
In Accra, a Graphic market survey showed that while in January a 50 kilogram (kg) bag of rice ranged from GH¢40.5 to GH¢54, it now ranges from GH¢46 to GH¢60.
Currently, flour ranges from GH¢53 to GH¢63, while in January the same 50 kilogram of flour could be bought at GH¢43.
Wheat sells at GH¢60 currently, prior to a price of GH¢48.50 four months a ago.
Ida Ansah who sells milled and unmilled local rice said an “olunka” (or about 2.7 kilos) of milled Ghana rice, was about GH¢7 while the same quantity of the unmilled was selling for GH¢80.
She said she got her suppliers from Hohoe in the Volta Region.
Traders at Okaishie in the Central Business District were unanimous in their responses that the patronage of these grains had was low.
“When someone comes in and you tell them the price, because of the wide margin in increases, they cannot buy and turn away” Felicia Yeboah, a rice dealer, Ms Felicia Yeboah in Okaishie said.
Her response was similar to all others traders of wheat, flour and rice interviewed.
Despite the price increases, there seems to be no shortage of these commodities on the market.
Retailers and importers interviewed, said while the local market was benefiting from old stocks, there were shortages on the global market.
Mr John Awuni, the Corporate Affairs Manager of the Finatrade Group Limited, said the effects of shortages on the global markets would be felt after old stocks in the country were sold out.
“The initial experience of the global food crisis will be price increases in grain, then later, there will be shortages of these grains”, he said.
According to him, when that happened, imports into the country of rice, wheat and other grains, would be possible only through arrangements between governments.
This is because of the embargo on exports by some countries, while others have instituted quotas on grain exports, Mr Awuni said.
Currently, India, has placed an embargo on the exportation of its Barsmati brand of rice.
DAILY GRAPHIC, MAY 10, 2008, PG 1. STORY PART OF A FRONT PAGE STORY BY KOFI YEBOAH, BUT BYLINE TO MY PART WAS CUT OUT