The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has said it is intensifying measures to check and eliminate fertilizer smuggling to neighbouring and other African countries.
The Ministry in 2018 recorded cases of smuggling of fertilizer, a development that negatively impedes a successful implementation of Government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program.
The Ministry as part of the measures has introduced new modalities to be used for the distribution of fertilizers to farmers under the fertilizer subsidy policy.
In 2018, the International Fertilizer Development Center which monitored the distribution of fertilizers to farmers in Ghana and parts of West Africa discovered that fertilizers meant for Ghanaian farmers were being smuggled to Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroun.
The coupon system which the Ministry introduced in 2018 to check the smuggling of the fertilizers suffered setbacks as some persons printed fake coupons to beat the system.
Explaining the 2019 implementation modalities, Director of Crops at MoFA, Seth Osei Akoto said all fertilizers under the modality must have the Planting for Food and Jobs Program (PFJ) logo at one side of the bag and the other side will also have information about the nutrient level and the information the company the farmers are working with.
He further said copies of waybills will be given to the regional Ministers, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) who will be the first point of call when the fertilizers are sent to their respective regions and districts.
The Ministers and the MMDCEs will work in collaboration with the District and Regional Directors of the Agric Ministry for the equitable distribution of the fertilizers to farmers within their area.
Fertilizers meant for farmers in the three Northern Regions he added will be in 25 kg weight rather than 50 kg as being done in 2018.
According to Mr. Osei Akoto, the Ministry took such decision following the issues of smuggling of fertilizers recorded in the three regions of the North in 2018.
He said the Ministry will also recruit personnel under the Nation Builders Corp (NABCO) Program who will be given special devices to register the farmers and also track the fertilizers that will be distributed to the farmers from various retail points through the Electronic System.
He further indicated that the Ministry will also make available daily records sheets to take information of farmers who will be assessing the fertilizers.
Mr. Osei Akoto expressed optimism that the new measures will go a long way to eliminate the smuggling of fertilizers.
“With these structures in place, we will be able to address the issues about the smuggling”, he said
AMG commits to support MoFA to eliminate fertilizer smuggling in Ghana
The Agriculture Manufacturing Group Limited (AMG), a fertilizer distribution company the Agric Ministry engaged to distribute fertilizers to farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs Program (PFJ) has begun sensitizing distributors, retailers and farmers on the modalities for the fertilizer distribution in 2019.
More than fifty (50) fertilizer distributors and retailers were taken through the new modalities during a two-day stakeholder engagement at the Miklin Hotel in Kumasi.
General Manager of the Agriculture Manufacturing Group, Henry Otoo-Mensah says his outfit will support Government to successfully implement the Planting for Food and Jobs Program.
“Our commitment is to support Government to ensure that the program succeeds in terms of discouraging things that have to do with smuggling of the fertilizers outside the country”, he added.
He maintained that they will continue to sensitize the stakeholders in the distribution chain to ensure the fertilizers that are meant for the farmers get to them.
Some of the participants who spoke to Citi News during the sensitization program commended AMG for hosting them in the two-day session.
By: Hafiz Tijani | citinewsroom.com | Ghana