Farmers have lamented that they are not benefiting from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Fertilizer Subsidize scheme.
Despite the government’s huge investment in the programme, the government spends about two hundred million Ghana cedis importing these, which are supposed to be sold to the farmers at 50% of the original market price.
But as a result of alleged corruption, smuggling and poor management of the scheme, farmers are not getting these fertilizers and have called for a reform of the scheme.
Two years ago, a resident of Bolgatanga allegedly diverted some bags of fertilizers which were meant for farmers in the region into his private apartment for his parochial interest.
“Sometimes you see a truck loaded with bags of sugar passing and you will think it is sugar but it is the fertilizer that has been loaded into the sugar bags and if they should open it you will see it is fertilizer. This is what they do and resell them. They have various markets in the neighboring countries where they sell these fertilizers,” the farmers say.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto upon hearing these, condemned it and called on all farmers to report any persons they find smuggling the fertilizers, to the police and the Ministry.
“Selfish people, wicked people…people who are saboteurs to our economy, to the vision of the president are determined that they will always steal fertilizers and give it to foreigners instead of our own farmers, this is really said. Make sure to report them to the police,” he said.
According to reports gathered, there are routes and shortcuts around the Kassena Nankana district through which these smugglers use in smuggling the fertilizers to a nearby town called Leo, in Burkina Faso.
In May 2020, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Secretariat under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) warned that the programme risks collapsing if concerted efforts are not made to stop the smuggling of government-subsidized fertilizer.
According to the Secretariat, Ghana lost a whopping GH¢120 million from unaccounted for fertilizer, diversion of coupons and fertilizer smuggling in the 2017 and 2018 planting seasons.