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.
Speaking to Citi News in Bolgatanga at a limited meeting with Agric officers and input dealers on how to tackle the menace ahead of the 2020 planting season, 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.
“I have written a report that is going to the Central Region. They were not able to account for 1,288 coupons and if you multiply this by 68, it is about GHS87,584.00 and this happened in the Regional office, not the district offices. So, if we don’t stop this smuggling and other things, before we realize, the programme will collapse. For you in the North, you have to wake up and help us to completely destroy this disease of fertilizer smuggling because this disease is like Coronavirus”.
Upper East Regional Director of the MOFA, Francis Ennor hinted that his outfit has taken pragmatic measures to curb the menace of smuggling in the region.
He indicated that the directorate, within the 2020 planting season will restrict the number of input dealers for the sale of government-subsidized fertilizer, particularly in fertilizer smuggling prone areas.
“So this year we do not want to have issues of fertilizer smuggling in the region thus the need for stakeholders to map out strategies to end the menace. As a result, in some districts we have restricted the number of people who can sell government-subsidized fertilizer this year, so ten input dealers have been selected and authorized for the sale of subsidized fertilizer in Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Pusiga, Garu-Tempane, and Kassena-Nankana West Districts”.
Chief Executive Officer of PETASCO Enterprise, an input dealer, Peter Adongo also called on the public to join the fight against fertilizer smuggling in the country.
He admonished input dealers to foster tight collaborations with various security agencies to nip in the bud the menace of fertilizer smuggling.