The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has petitioned the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to reform the mode of operations of the fertilizer subsidy programme.
This is to ensure farmers were the real beneficiaries of the initiative and put them at the center of the scheme.
This according to the group would ensure efficiency and transparency in the programme.
“As Media Practitioners working within the Agricultural space, we spent the later part of 2020 and early part of the year 2021 gathering perspective from farmers across the country on the major challenges that need urgent attention with the fertilizer subsidy top on the list.
“We also gathered that the government annually allocated about GHS 207 million for the scheme to import fertilizers, which is supposed to be sold to farmers at 50 percent of the original price, but the farmers raised concern that they don’t even know those who received the said subsidized fertilizers”.
The statement signed by Mr Richmond Frimpnog, President and Mr Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Assistant Secretary and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) suggested to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to set up a committee to monitor and review the operations of the fertilizer subsidy programme.
“We were shocked at the recent disclosure by the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat that Ghana lost a sum of GHC 120 million for non-accounted for subsidized fertilizers, diversion of coupons and smuggling in the 2017 and 2018 planting seasons alone”
This to us, is a threat to the sustainability of the fertilizer subsidy scheme and national food security as a whole.
The statement also wants the Ministry to put farmers at the centre of the programme especially farmer based organisations such as the National Farmers’ Association of Ghana, Peasant Farmers Association among others since these associations have members across the country and well-structured management system at the Regional and District levels.
It also appealed to the Ministry to liaise with the Ministries of Interior and Attorney General to bring those involved in the smuggling of subsidized fertilizer to book to deter others.