Director of Crops Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, Seth Osei-Akoto, has discounted claims by farmers that there are inadequate fertilisers in the market. He further described the claims by farmers on the high prices of the few fertilisers on the market as false.
Mr Akoto attributed the prices to the increased smuggling of fertilisers, as his outfit has provided sufficient quantity of fertilisers.
He made this revelation at a Sensitization Workshop and Policy Dialogue on Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign.
“Last week, I was in the northern part of the country and even in places where cultivation has already started preparing their lands, there were lots of fertilizers in some of the shops. I have a data that today, I’m having a technical meeting with the minister. We normally do comparison, in May 2019 what was the distribution like? In 2019 May ending, we had distributed almost 60,000 fertilizers, in 2020, 34,048 metric tonnes of fertilizers and in 2021, we sent out 21,996 bags of fertilizers. So where lies the [fact] that farmers are not accessing fertiliser?”
Subsidize fertilisers for farmers
On his part, the National President of the Peasant Farmers Association, Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, revealed that government’s failure to pay suppliers, is contributing to the inadequate supply of fertilisers.
Additionally, he explained that, the reduction of fertiliser from fifty percent to thirty eight percent for farmers is having a negative impact on their production. By this, Mr Mohammed revealed that the non-subsidized fertilisers have become a luxury for farmers.
“The reduction of the subsidy component from 50% to 38% will put a lot of pressure on the smallholder farmer, especially women due to the impact of COVID-19 on the activities of farming. Secondly, considering that we are in the month of June which is the planting period for most farmers, it has become very frustrating for our members who are unable to access the subsidized fertilizers”.
“As I am talking to you, there is no single subsidized fertiliser on the market, even though the ministry has given directive for suppliers to start distributing fertiliser.”
Smuggling of fertilisers
In February this year, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, disclosed that government has restricted the movement of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) subsidized fertilizers to 20 districts within 5 regions.
According to him, this is to help address the issue of smuggling of fertilisers into neighbouring countries.
He further revealed that government has taken measures to stop the leakage and illegal trade of fertilizers across the borders.
“The reason for this smuggling is because we are the only country around us which has subsidized fertilizer, no country does that so the smugglers have a field day with a huge amount of money if they are able to carry just one bag across the border.
“We [government] have restricted the distribution of fertilizer to the districts that are known to be indulged in this trend; the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, North East and Volta regions.”