Bags of Planting for Foods and Jobs (PFJ) fertilizers and boxes of other agrochemicals have been confiscated at Akatsi by the Akanu Sector Command of the Ghana Immigration Service in the Volta Region.
This was upon a tip-off received by the Immigration officials last Wednesday that a motor tricycle, loaded with the fertilizers and other agric products, has been sighted moving on an unapproved route at Ave-Atanvi village in the Ketu North Municipality.
Eight bags of UREA PJF fertilizer and 23 boxes of agrochemicals which were en route to neighbouring Togo were retrieved after the operation.
The Ankanu Sector Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Immigration (ACI), Felix Agyemang disclosed that the consignments were intercepted by the officers after managing to trace the crime scene.
The suspects, however, absconded upon sensing danger on the arrival of the patrol officers.
“Onboard the motor tricycle with the registration number M-19-VR 1763, were eight bags of UREA Planting for Food and Jobs Fertilizers and 23 boxes of Agrochemicals,” ACI Agyemang noted.
Meanwhile, the Regional Command has cautioned “all cross-border criminal syndicates to refrain from such illegal activities or be prosecuted when arrested”.
The impounded tricycle together with the contraband goods is currently with the Ave-Havi Border Post for further investigations and subsequent arrest of the suspects.
Ghana loses GHS120m to fertilizer smuggling – PFJ Secretariat
The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Secretariat under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has warned that the programme risks collapsing if concerted efforts are not made to stop the smuggling of government-subsidized fertilizer.
According to the Secretariat, Ghana lost a whopping GHS120 million from unaccounted for fertilizer, diversion of coupons and fertilizer smuggling in the 2017 and 2018 planting seasons.
Officer In-charge of Special Duties on Planting for Food and Jobs, Baffour Amoh Kofi II, admonished stakeholders in synergy to stop fertilizer smuggling adding that, the situation, if not checked, will threaten the sustenance of the programme.
“We have realized that if we do not stop this smuggling of fertilizer, in future, Planting for Food and Jobs will collapse because after we reviewed that of 2017 and 2018, we saw that diversion of coupons and unaccounted for fertilizer is costing government GHS120 million,” he lamented.
There have been recorded cases of fertilizer smuggling, a development that continuously impedes the successful implementation of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs program.
MoFA has said it is intensifying measures to check and eliminate fertilizer smuggling to neighbouring and other African countries but it appears the new modalities introduced to be used for the distribution of fertilizers to farmers are not yielding the needed results.
Government-subsidized fertilizer under its Planting for Food and Jobs is aimed at increasing food production to address the high imports of foodstuff into the country.
Although the government branded its subsidized fertilizer for easy identification to curb smuggling, the menace still exists.