Ghana: Farmers in UE anxious over delay of fertilizer subsidy

Farmers in the Upper East Region are worried over the delay in the supply of the annual subsidized fertilizer under the government Fertilizer programme.

It has emerged that the agents are yet to take delivery of the product for distribution to farmers.

In an interaction with the Ghana News Agency, some farmers in the Bolgatanga Municipality expressed their frustrations as the rains have set in and farming activities were picking up in earnest.

Mr John Akaribo, a farmer, said at the same time last year, fertilizer dealers under the programme had taken delivery of their consignments and started distribution.

Meanwhile, some of the retailers expressed frustration over the agreement and indicated that they had not yet received their consignments.

Mr Simple Prince, an input dealer, said the market price of fertilizer was GH180 per bag. Others who spoke to the GNA said selling the product below any price pegged by them would lead to losses because of increased costs in labour charges and transportation.

Some of the input dealers in the 2020 programme said transport cost for a bag of fertilizer was absorbed in the source of supply at GHC10.00 but with the current increase in transport fares, a bag is charged GHC13.00, excluding the cost of loading and offloading.

The dealers feared running at a loss considering the current arrangement and planned not to take the fertilizer. They threatened to demonstrate if things did not change.

Mr Charles Nyaaba, the Head of Programmes of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana(PFAG), noted that fertilizer was sold at GHC 158 last year in the open market while the government subsidized half of the cost.

Despite the subsidy, he said, the current prices would affect the farmers.

Mr Francis Ennor, the Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture (MoFA), on his part, assured the farmers that the fertilizer would soon be sent to the region.

On districts that were blacklisted in the 2020 cropping season due to reported cases of fertilizer smuggling, he said some specific dealers were captured to supply this year.

Last year, six districts in the Upper East Region were restrained from dealing with sales and distribution of subsidized fertilizer to farmers due to reported cases of smuggling of fertilizer in the corridors of those districts.

The districts were Paga in the Kassena Nankana West District, Bawku West and Bawku Municipal, Pusiga, Garu and Tempane districts.

Meanwhile, the PFAG and their partners have increased sensitization on modalities of implementation of the subsidy programme to whip up interest and participation of farmers in the programme.

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