Farmers in Wa, the Upper West Regional capital, have described as too late, the intervention of the Ministry of Agriculture in releasing money to suppliers to continue the supply of the Planting for Food and Jobs subsidized fertilizers to farmers.
This is in response to the disclosure of Dr. Owusu Afriye Akoto, the Minister of Agriculture, that GHC 260million has been released to settle part of the debts owed suppliers of fertilizer under the government’s flagship programme so that farmers can continue to benefit the supplies.
According to Daud Salifu, “if as we speak the fertilizers were here, it would have helped some few farmers who planted their crops a bit later. But as we speak, he said the ministry has released money. When are the fertilizers coming to the Upper West Region?” He quizzed.
He further opined that, some of the farmers have started harvesting maize, groundnut and yam. And that the crops still at the farms have passed the stage of fertilizer application, noting that, only sulphate of Amonia can stil be applied.
Mr. Daud also lamented over the high cost of the subsidized fertilizers, saying they come in smaller sizes than the previous fertilizers but cost more.
On his part, Hudu Bashit said this release is to enrich politicians who smuggle fertilizers to neighbouring Burkina Faso at the expense of the Ghanaian farmer. He claimed that, farmers are being harassed most times by police on their way to farms with fertilizer while big trucks loaded with fertilizers are allowed to pass with ease.
Meanwhile the Member of Parliament for Wa East Constituency and Deputy Ranking Member on the Food and Agriculture Committee, Dr Seidu Jasew described the release of the GHC260 million as indicated by the Agriculture Minister as too late and too little to salvage the situation farmers found themselves in the midst of the fertilizer shortage.
It is worthy of note that, the PFJ subsidized fertilizers ran out in the Upper West Region since June, at a time farmer were in dire need of the products, especially the NPK fertilizer, for their crops. This development has left a number of people in fear of food shortages in the near future as it is anticipated that there will be low yield this farming season.