A Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr Nurah Gyiele, has urged residents to help guard against smuggling of fertilisers meant for the Planting for Food & Jobs programme in the North.
Dr Gyiele was worried about the possibility of individuals smuggling these fertilisers for re-sale in neighbouring countries as government had slashed fertiliser prices making it relatively cheaper across West African countries.
“Our major problem will be fertiliser smuggling, as we have reduced prices of fertiliser by 50 per cent. It’s the cheapest in the sub-region, so there is that motivation and temptation to smuggle these fertilisers across this country,” he said at an interaction with municipal and district directors of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in the Upper East Region.
For him, community members will be key in preventing such occurrences as he challenged residents to endeavour to do their best to make the programme a reality due to the potential benefit to farmers and the country.
“…So, irrespective of the policing measures put in place to curb the menace, people would still want to smuggle fertiliser, but those doing this smuggling are from our communities, so we [community members] are the best police and best positioned to expose these smugglers,” he underscored.
The Planting for Food & Jobs programme will get a $120million (125 million Canadian dollars) investment from the Canadian government. A deal for the release of the grant was agreed and signed between the two countries recently.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta represented the government of Ghana while the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Heather Anne Cameron, signed for her country.
Launching the programme in January, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the programme, was expected to create over 750,000 jobs for the youth.
The programme is akin to the Operation Feed Yourself campaign launched by the Acheampong regime in the 1970s to make Ghana self-sufficient in food supply.
The Planting for Food & Jobs programme will be operating under five main components: supply of improved seedlings, provision of fertilisers, extension services, marketing for produce, and e-agriculture.