International Monetary Funds: Ghana

The Republic of Ghana is a country in West Africa. It has received many loans from the IMF in order to make the country better. The IMF plays a really big role in Ghana, they implement policies which they think help Ghana. The IMF lowered the tariffs on imported food specifically rice, however that action resulted in farmers of Ghana to suffer greatly and go out of business.

Farmers who have rice fields suffered many problems after the year 1990 because when the IMF gave them a loan, they also put in their conditions on the loan. They told the government to lower the tariffs on imported food. When the tariffs were lowered, the markets of Ghana were flooded with imported rice coming from, India, China, and mainly the US, which were being sold cheaper than the local rice. The imported rice was cheaper due to the subsidies the government provided their farmers. In 2003, the US paid $1.3bn in rice subsidises to its farmers and sold the crop for $1.7bn, effectively footing the bill for 72% of the crop (Charlotte Moore, The Guardian (UK)). This shows that even if the western countries are selling their rice cheaper in Ghana, they are still making profit. As for the local farmers, they suffer to a great extent. They do all of their harvesting by hand, no machinery used since they cannot afford to spend in machinery. They buy their own fertilizer, without any help from the government. When they don’t sell their produce, they experience poverty. “The plight of rice farmers in Ghana shows how western policies and unfair agricultural subsidises in the US and the EU are destroying the livelihoods of farmers in developing nations” (Harriet Binet, STWR).

Harriet Binet is just trying to say that since the US and other countries are providing their farmers with high subsidies, they are terminating other people’s lives, such as the farmers in Ghana. People don’t keep stock of Ghanaian rice in their shops since they know that it is not going to get sold, the imported rice still get sold faster and easily because they are of better value. “I can’t sell it. The quality of the imported rice is so much better that even though it costs more, people buy it,” he says. He also says that “Ghanaian rice is only available for six months of the year. The poor quality of Ghanaian rice is no secret. Lack of government subsidies means the farmers cannot afford to invest in any machinery to help with harvesting the rice” (Charles Yeboah, STWR). Charles Yeboah is a shop owner in Ghana who says that he cannot afford to store Ghanaian rice since it doesn’t bring him profit. The government of Ghana tried their best to make the tariffs on imported rice higher since they saw their own farmers suffering largely, however the conditions on the loans by the IMF pressured the government to back down.
In conclusion, the IMF has negatively impacted Ghana. By reducing the tariffs, they promoted poverty in to the country through importing rice from the western countries, leaving the local farmers out of business. “If the west is truly serious about making poverty history, then agricultural subsidises must be abolished” (Harriet Binet, STWR). In order to help out developing countries such as Ghana, the IMF should get rid of low tariffs and if they do want to import food, they need to stop subsidising their farmers.