Civil Society Organizations in agriculture in the Upper East Region have called on the government to name and shame persons caught smuggling fertilizer meant for government’s flagship programme the Planting for Food and Jobs (PJF).
The government to boost food production introduced the policy to support Ghanaian farmers with subsidized fertilizer and seeds.
However, due to the proximity of the Upper East Region to Togo and Burkina Faso, some individuals are smuggling the fertilizer out of the country, denying Ghanaian farmers the opportunity to get the fertilizer for their farms.
It is against this backdrop that the CSOs and private sector actors in the agriculture sector while lauding the policy, called on the government to name and shame perpetrators of the policy.
Mr Mark Kebo Akparibo, a member, who read a communiqué on behalf of the group during a Regional stakeholders’ dialogue on PFJs, held in Bolgatanga, appealed to government to continue distributing confiscated smuggled fertilizer to the poor and vulnerable groups, including women farmers and persons with a disability, after naming and shaming those caught smuggling the products.
He called on the government to motivate informants and security personnel at check-points for arresting and prosecuting persons engaged in smuggling of farm inputs.
While recognizing the contribution of the PJF Programme to achieving food and nutrition security in the country, the CSOs recommended a close collaboration of the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Agro -Input Dealers Association (GAIDA) in the registration of credible input dealers to minimize smuggling of the inputs.
The meeting attracted traditional leaders, agro-input dealers and Women in Agric Platforms (WAPs).
The CSOs alleged political interference in the selection and registration of input dealers and said the key criteria for the selection should be previous track record, financial capacity of input dealers and credibility.
To boost food security and alleviate poverty in the country, the group further recommended that the PJF programme be extended from its current focus on rainy season production to include dry season farming.
“The Department of Agriculture should reconsider the credit support for input supply on the PFJ, particularly for women farmers through dedicated input dealers in the region as women have continued to show great commitment to repayment of loans advanced through women’s groups”, the CSOs recommended.