The Farmer Input Subsidy Programmes (FISP) in its current form cannot deliver the desired crop productivity and food security to smallholder farmers as envisaged, Dr John Jatoe, a Researcher at the University of Ghana, has said.
He said instead there was a need for major shift in approach to one that makes use of integrated soil fertility management systems to improve productivity.
Dr Jatoe was presenting a research study commissioned by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development at a workshop in Accra.
The workshop was in collaboration with Groundswell International on the Farmer Input Subsidy Programmes on the theme; “Reforming the Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme for Food Sovereignty”.
The research was to assess the country’s investments in agriculture since 2008 and contribute to the debate on the extent to which the sustainability, resilience to climate change, income and food security of small-scale farmers has been strengthened.
It was also to know the effectiveness, efficiency, impact, sustainability and opportunity cost and economic rate of return of public resources invested in FISPs in the medium and long term, particularly for small-scale farmers and for consumers.
Dr Jatoe recommended the use of subsidised mineral fertilizer as part of a wider integrated soil fertility management approach and promote joint use of organic and inorganic fertilizers including the subsided organic fertilizer.
He, therefore, called for urgent attention to re-orient the public expenditure priorities to focus on important agricultural development such as skills training.
He said this would also require shifting the burden of critical public expenditure from donors to government in both budgetary and actual expenditure terms.
Dr Jatoe said the country’s expenditure on agriculture fell far short of the Maputo Declaration Benchmark of 10 per cent and was even declining.
He said Ghana’s public spending on agriculture was low, both by regional and international standards, and had been on the decline in recent years whiles the fertilizer subsidies constituted a growing per cent of that total.
He said government needed to re-think the approach for sustainable food security hinged on domestic production.