The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has called on farmers and Ghanaians as a whole to embrace the government’s proposed E-Levy transaction which was announced in the 2022 budget statement by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, last month.
According to Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Akufo-Addo administration was working assiduously to raise money enough to support farmers in the country, hence the introduction of the E-Levy.
However, he pointed out that the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) entrenched position on the matter was very worrying.
Dr Afriyie Akoto made the assertion when he visited one of the government’s built warehouses at Gambaga in the North East Region on his first-day visit to the region as part of his 13-day tour of the northern sector.
The warehouse contained thousands of tons of harvested rice for safekeeping.
Prior to the visit to the warehouse, Dr Afriyie Akoto held a durbar with stakeholders and farmers in the agriculture industry in the region where he encouraged them to support the government’s policies in the sector.
These, he said, included Fertiliser Subsidy, Planting For Food and Jobs ((PFJ) among others aimed at improving farming activities in the region.
On shortage of fertilizers, he indicated that the government was seriously working to address it.
“We are making arrangements to ensure that farmers in the country have fertilizers to apply to their crops,” he assured.
He explained that the problem has come about because of the global shortage of fertilizer, adding that this has caused increases in the price of fertilizers.
He said, regrettably Ghana does not produce fertilizers, however, added that the government has subsidized fertilizers’ for farmers by 50%. This facility, he said, started when the government began its PFJ programme.
While admitting that there were demands for warehouses, he averred that the uncompleted ones will be worked on as quickly as possible.
The minister also paid a courtesy call on the Overlord of Mamprugu Kingdom, Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sherigu, at his Nayiri Palace.
Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sherigu thanked the minister and his directors for making time to visit his community.
He recounted how his senior brother who was an agriculture extension officer helped him in his farming activities.
He, therefore, challenged the agriculture minister to ensure that extension officers carry out the needed knowledge to the farmers to improve their yields, adding that the region was one of the leading food baskets in the country.
Speaking to journalists, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Mamprusi West, Aremeyaw Somo Lucky Basiutaly, who spoke on behalf of the farmers, mainly rice farmers, mentioned some challenges bedeviling the farmers.
These, he mentioned, included no power at the processing center and a lack of warehouse in the district for rice farmers.
He, therefore, appealed to the minister to help resolve these challenges.
From the palace of the Overlord of Mamprusi, the minister’s team visited the Presbyterian Agriculture Services at Lanbinsi Tenguri where he interacted with the women farmers and promised to support their activities.
He then took his visit to Tamanaa Rice Factory located along the Tamale Highway where rice in its raw state was processed, packaged and sold to the final consumer or exported.