knows that is a palpable untruth because the maize that was taken from the buffer stock was not sent there from Burkina Faso or Nigeria.
It was Ghanaian produce that the Government of Ghana wanted to use to feed students in senior high schools, and also prevent the maize from going bad. With the tacit agreement of the ECOWAS Commission, this arrangement was made. Yet, we had people going to radio stations saying that the Government was importing maize and because of that, we are taking maize from warehouses in Tamale. That is a palpable untruth. [Interruption.] I am not provoking debate, but contributing. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, the agricultural productivity has also increased jobs. The buffer stock and livestock production have also increased but we need to do more.
While we celebrate, as the Hon Tanko Ibrahim said, we are celebrating productivity. So we must double our steps in the construction of the warehouses and mop up production. This is because if we do not do that and there is glut, it would demotivate farmers and nobody
would then go into farming again. We want to encourage the youth to go into farming. If they go into it and they are not even able to make ends meet or even breakeven -- my Hon Colleague, Hon Tanko Ibrahim, shouted when I made this allusion in a lighter note that he was not even breaking even. If that, indeed, is the case, then we need to be careful.
We need to harvest the produce to feed the industries that would be constructed. What it means is that we must hasten our steps in the construction of those factories in the districts, to swallow the excess food that is produced, beyond providing food security. Other than that, it would provide a demotivation to the farmers and the next couple of years, they may not even go into farming again.
Mr Speaker, while I commend the farmers for the great jobs they do for us to ensure food security and that for the first time in so many years we even exported some maize, it is important that we ensure -- [Interruption.] I have seen a head shoot up like -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, we need to come together and encourage the Hon Minister for Agriculture to ensure, together with the Hon Minister for
Trade and Industry, that we hasten our steps in the construction of the factories, which are meant to take the produce of the agricultural sector and add value to it. That would also increase their income and help to also expand the farms.
Mr Speaker, I am happy that the celebration would go to Ho. The people of the Volta Region used to be the second producers of cocoa in the country when it started. Today, they have lost out, and I believe they are about the fifth or the sixth region. There are 16 regions now.
So maybe, we would count Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo, Western, Upper Western, Northern Upper and then the Western Region itself. Volta Region is about the sixth, which is not the best. So they should get to know the importance of continuing in that vocation of cocoa production, and whatever benefits would inure to all of us in the country as a collective.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the space granted, and I thank the Hon Minister for Agriculture, who also submitted the Statement to this House.