Following reports of confusion that have characterized the country’s fertilizer subsidy program since its inception, Government has been advised to establish distribution outlets in the various communities to ensure that the commodity reaches its beneficiaries.
The proponent, SEND – Ghana, a civil society organisation, emphasizes that, “in order to ensure that the fertilizer subsidy program reaches its target beneficiaries and attain its goal, it is important that MoFA takes pragmatic steps to collaborate with fertilizer companies to establish distribution outlets in communities.
SEND-Ghana also wants government to take steps to ensure that fertilizers are released at the beginning of the farming season so that farmers can have access to the product at the right time in order to maximize benefits of the program.
It said in promoting the use of subsidized fertilizer in the country, Government needs to increase its investment and take advantage of the funding opportunities in the private sector to increase resource allocation for the supply of more fertilizers.
These were contained in a research report on fertilizer subsidy christened, “Making Fertilizer Subsidy Helpful to Small Holder Farmers. The research was conducted by SEND- Ghana with funding from CARE, Denmark.
The study covered 2011 to 2015 farming season and was carried out in seven districts comprising two districts each in the Upper West and Upper East regions and three districts in the Northern Region.
Disseminating the findings of the research to the media in Accra last week, the Lead researcher, Mr John Nkaw, disclosed that the awareness level of the fertiliser subsidy programme in the districts under review were higher than others.
Mr Nkaw said for example, all farmers contacted in Wa West were aware of the programme unlike those in West Mamprusi and Bolgatanga.
He observed, “The variations in level of awareness were even sharper among men and women farmers. For example, while all women farmers contacted in Wa West and 62 percent in Bolgatanga were aware of the program, less than half of the respondent in Tolon and West Mamprusi were aware of the fertilizer subsidy program.”
He noted seven years into the implementation of the fertiliser subsidy programme, “ awareness of the programme is very high among farmers in the study area. Eighty –one percent of farmers indicated that they were aware of the programme.”
Mr Nkaw recommended that Government should allocate funds for monitoring and supervision of the supply chain to ensure price stability of subsidised fertilizer .
In June 2008, Government introduces a nation-wide fertilizer subsidy program covering three types of inorganic fertilizer, namely Sulphate of Ammonia, Urea and Compound Fertilizer.
The program was a rapid intervention to help increase food production during the peak of the global financial, food and energy crisis that was adversely affecting poor countries.
The goal of the programme was to help farmers increase fertiliser application for increased crop production.
Source – Mohammed Suleman/ Public Agenda