Henri Wientjes, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of African Tiger Holdings Limited, has stated that the best way to promote competitive agriculture in the country to reduce poverty is for the government to review the fertilizer subsidy programme to ensure farmers benefited directly.
He said the current system where farmers benefit from the fertilizer subsidy through a third party was creating fertile grounds for corruption and smuggling of the product resulting in the lost of revenue to government.
Mr Wientjes, the CEO of Wienco Ghana Limited, suggested that the subsidized fertilizer could be sold directly to farmers through their mobile phones and similar systems had been put in place in Nigeria where farmers had fully benefited from the product.
He raised this concern in Tamale during a roundtable discussion at the Northern Business Executive meeting as part of the Northern Ghana Investment Conference.
The four-day conference, which was organized by the Ridmut Consult, brought together organizations in the state and non-state actors to showcase their products and services, as well as share ideas to improve business activities in the northern parts of the country.
Mr Wientjes noted that due to the current implementation challenges of the fertilizer subsidy programme, farmers either do not get the product at all or the product arrived late, which he said had affected crop yields negatively.
He also bemoaned the allocation or quota system introduced by the government for fertilizer importation and explained that such policies do not create competition in the system, which leads to poor agricultural performances.
He appealed to the government to put measures in place for quick and easy clearing of goods at the Tema Habour, saying ‘we are importing several containers of irrigation equipment next month…we want government to assist us to clear them for our irrigation project at Yagba.’
Mumuni Shiraz Ibn Yacin, District Chief Executive for Central Gonja, appealed to investors to collaborate with government to develop the in-land port to improve transportation of goods in the country and its neighbours.
He said the district was endowed with numerous natural resources and urged investors to turn their attention to the area.
Mutawakil Riyad, Chief Executive Officer of Ridmut Consult, said the business fair had been one of the best organized and that patronage had been very high.
He urged the business community to share useful ideas that would take advantage of the huge potentials of northern Ghana to propel it for growth.
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