Senyo Hosi’s reply on how he lost millions of cedis after relying on Agric ministry’s data

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has asked Senyo Hosi, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, to furnish the ministry with information to enable it establish claims that he lost millions of cedis by relying on data from the ministry.

The Ministry has described Mr Hosi’s comment made in a video circulating on social media as unfortunate and said it undermines the integrity of the Ministry.

The information the Ministry wants include the nature of investments into which millions of Ghana cedis were sunk, the source of MoFA data that informed the failed investments, whether there was engagement with any technical directorate or senior official of the Ministry on the specific data related to the investments, and also whether a formal complaint was ever lodged, verbally or otherwise about the integrity of the data use.

Senyo Hosi has reacted to the ministry’s statement.

Attached below is a copy of the statement

I have sighted a press release issued by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) dated 30th October and titled as per above. The publication is supposed to be a response to my arguments and representations at the just-ended 3Business Agribusiness dialogue duly attended by MOFA officials. I hereby respond as follows.

1. My company, located in Adaklu-Tsriefe, producers of GoGo rice and Mommie rice hosted His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo at our farm and factory. He was accompanied by the then deputy Minister of Agriculture (Dr. Bambangi), Hon. Alan Kyeremanteng, Hon. Peter Amewu, Hon. Kan-Dapaah, Hon Amoako-Atta, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Hon. Dr. Achibald Letsa and other government dignitaries. Please note that my investment is purely private and not a beneficiary of 1D1F funding.

At a durbar held in their honour, the deputy minister at MOFA, proposed a collaboration with our company to help achieve a constructive example of investment success in rice production. Pursuant to that, we wrote to MOFA on the 24th of December 2019 and followed up with reminders on the proposal. Three years on, we are yet to be dignified with a response.

2. If you were really concerned about the commercial and social viability of investments in the sector as you seem to express, you would have been more responsible than ignore communication from one of the biggest rice investors in that district, region and the country. Respectfully, my address is known to your office and so if you are truly minded about my pain and the merits of my argument, you would have reached out to me directly while sharing public interest in mitigating concerns of industry. I therefore do not find your Ministry under the current leadership an honest policy partner in the development of my business to warrant any submission of my investment details for your consideration.

I however entreat you to honestly audit the production, yield, investment, and subsidy deployment information you publish.

3. Many of the investors in agriculture at the dialogue affirmed my experience saying, “it is true”. This can be confirmed by your representative at the event. Your representative proposed engaging with industry to better understand and resolve the challenge.

This I thought was responsible. I therefore find this PR stunt to just address my person in your publication as reckless, irresponsible, and not one committed to a constructive shaping of impactful policy. Maybe, you should go back and take a careful look at the video and identify all those who said, “It is true!”. To the extent that it may interest you, my submission was validated by heads of Agro-based bodies present.

4. My submission, at core, was about your failure to structure the agricultural industry through policy to make it sustainably bankable and attractive for investment, to achieve the transformation we seek as a country. Kindly tell the people of Ghana, which single major subsector you have effectively derisked, restructured and nurtured to promote sustainable investment, and make Ghana a leader in that space.

5. Since commencing operations with test runs with a 500-acre cultivation of rice in 2020 and 1,350-acres in 2022:

i. We have not received any data request on our production from MOFA. Conferring with many of my colleagues in the industry, MOFA has requested little to no data on their productivity.

ii. MOFA has at no time assessed our production levels despite the challenges we face. And same can be said for many other players in the rice sector. The culture of collecting installed mechanical capacity of mills cannot be a proxy for actual production. That births the question: how did you come by the data on your website that Ghana produces 43% of its rice needs? Often, at the Rice Millers Association level, we have wondered your source of data. So, maybe, you should tell the people of Ghana your methodology for drawing or reaching the estimates you make.

6. I find it most unfortunate that despite being led by a PhD Agric-economist, the analytical capacity of the MOFA is one of mediocrity. Just so you are reminded, despite the presence of MOFA in practically every district in the country, it is the Minister’s methodology that the distribution of fertilizer equals a given quantum of employment. Since when did the distribution of fertilizer become a yardstick for acquiring employment data on a major policy intervention as the Planting for Food and Jobs? And I believe these bags of fertilizer that the Minister adopted as the basis for the Ministry’s employment data included the bags of fertilizer, he found being smuggled out of the country on unmanned donkeys he could only watch and do nothing about.

7. Respectfully, the arm-chair analysis the Minister and/or MOFA does with a culture of ‘knowing everything’, without adequate consultations and collaborations with industry, will take this country nowhere. Your conduct and management of this matter is suboptimal and respectfully, proves your unfitness to lead in the policy space for this sector. It is no wonder that we have spent billions of cedis and yielded sub-optimal effect, under all kinds of sloganeering and questionable data reportage.

8. I respectfully call on the Minister and his Chief Director to resign with immediate effect to save this industry from total collapse.

I remain