The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) wants the government to consider scrapping the subsidy on fertilizer to address the perennial fertilizer smuggling under the government’s flagship policy, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ).
The government in its quest to boost food production in the country introduced a subsidy that allows farmers to pay 50 percent of the original market cost of fertilizers.
Some farmers in the Upper East Region say they are not getting the fertilizer, which raises the question of the whereabouts of the subsidized fertilizer.
But speaking on the ‘Zina Yela’ program on A1 Radio, Reverend John Akaribo, the Upper East Regional Focal Person of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), suspects there is a cartel involved in the smuggling of the fertilizer out of the country.
“The operation of this cartel either starts from Accra or Tema through to Burkina Faso, Togo, or Ivory Coast. Simple Prince or PETASCO [fertilizer suppliers in the region] cannot smuggle the fertilizers out of the country. So, how can an ordinary farmer like us who cannot buy fertilizer loaded in a truck of about 2000 bags break the operation of the cartel in the fertilizer smuggling? Even the Regional Minister cannot break their operation.”
The PFAG regional focal person has therefore called on the government to scrap the subsidy on the fertilizer and rather channel the monies for farmers to get credit facilities through rural banks.
“If it is left on to us peasant farmers, we would have wished that government channel the money for the fertilizer subsidy into rural banks for farmers to get credit facilities that will ensure there is value for money. Because it is like there is no value in the fertilizer subsidy because farmers don’t get the fertilizer on time, and even when we get it, it is not always enough. So what we the peasant farmers are proposing is that government should scrap the subsidy on the fertilizer”, he stated.
Rev. Akaribo also suggested for the government invest resources for agriculture extension officers to train farmers in organic farming. This he said, “Will improve crop yield instead of the over-reliance of subsidized fertilizer which is not also available”.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah