Business News of Thursday, 18 April 2013
Source: Daily Guide
Farmers will have to pay additional money to enable them patronize government’s subsidized fertilizers and seeds for planting this year. Last year, the NPK fertilizer was sold at GH¢76 out of which farmers paid GH¢39 while government offered GH¢37 as subsidy.
However, this year, the price of the same product has been pegged at GH¢71.5 and farmers are expected to pay GH¢51 with government absorbing GH¢20.50. 45 kg of maize is now selling at GH¢72 and government will absorb GH¢37.5. Also, for 40 kg of rice, farmers will pay GH¢28 with government offering GH¢27 as subsidy.
This was made known when Minster of Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado, announced the 2013 fertilizer and seed subsidy programme. He stressed the need for farmers to also bear part of the increasing international cost and local transport cost of delivery.
Mr. Humado noted that though the implementation of the programme, which commenced in 2008, had resulted in an increase in crop production “this has come at an increasing cost to the government.” He mentioned that Ghana is the only country in the sub-region that subsidises granular chemical fertilizer for food crop farmers, creating disparity between prices on the domestic market and those in neighboring countries.
Last year, the price of a 50-kg of subsidized NPK was pegged at GH¢39 in Ghana but sold at GH¢70 at the Burkina Faso border. This development, he noted, created an attractive market for smugglers leading to a substantial reduction in fertilizers on the domestic market for farmers.
To curb the smuggling of subsidized fertilizers and seeds, Mr Humado advised farmers to report any dealer who sells the subsidized inputs above the announced prices, adding that security agencies “are to protect the taxpayers’ money by arresting and prosecuting any person or groups of persons smuggling subsidized inputs across our borders.”
The minister noted that six fertilizer companies, which took part in the bidding process, were evaluated to clear the fertilizers at the ports, pay all charges and deliver allocated quantities to the regions and districts for sale to farmers through registered agents.