The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFG) has impressed on the Ministry of Agriculture and key stakeholders in the sector to put in measures to curb the smuggling of fertilizer if government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project will succeed.
Under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project, 2.5million farmers will enjoy 50 percent subsidized fertilizer among other incentives.
But in an interview with Citi News in Bolgatanga Upper East Regional focal person of PFG, John Akaribo said, beneficiary farmers may receive the subsidized fertilizers unless frantic efforts taken to police unapproved routes use in smuggling these fertilizers across neighboring countries.
He said, government should not blame farmers particularly in the three regions of the North for fertilizer smuggling but rather initiate measures to track input dealers and some politicians who indulge in smuggling of subsidized fertilizer.
“Smuggling of subsidized fertilizer in the Northern part of Ghana is very bad because the cost of subsidized fertilizer in Ghana is cheaper than that of Burkina Faso and Togo hence the smuggling.
We have done injustice to ourselves over the years, government is putting in hard earn currency to give fertilizer to farmers and others will smuggle these fertilizers to neighboring countries for their own parochial interest.
The smuggling of fertilizer is a social canker that must be addressed fully because the politicians and fertilizer distributors are all involved in the smuggling.
It is a chain, it is a complete cartel which we all must work in synergy to curtail it once the farming season sets in” Akaribo lamented. Mr. Akaribo hinted that, his outfit will put in place fertilizer watchdog committees across the region to police all unapproved routes used for smuggling.
“There are so many unapproved routes that our security agencies not even recognize but we the farmers within those communities know those areas, so when we are given the task and responsibility to some committed volunteers to safeguard fertilizer smuggling, it situation will be reduced to the barest minimum” He appealed to the Custom and Excise Preventive Service (CESPS), the Ghana Immigration service and the police to support the fight against fertilizer smuggling in the region.
Mr. Akaribo urged farmers to take advantage of the package and register with their district agriculture offices to benefit.