Business News of Thursday, 25 April 2013
Government has spent GHS 8, 883, 705 as subsidy on fertilizer and seeds, for 60,321 farmers in the Brong-Ahafo Region, last year.
Mr Ebenezer Aboagye, Brong-Ahafo Regional Desk Officer on the Fertilizer and Seed Subsidy Programme, announced this when Mr. Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture, visited Sunyani on Wednesday, as part of a day’s tour of the region.
The minister interacted with district directors, extension officers, farmers, butchers and media personnel.
Mr Aboagye said the programme was saddled with the problem of delay in the submission of waybills by distributors and agents for endorsement and the redistribution of fertilizer by agents to other agents.
He suggested that “quota allocation for distributors of fertilizer and seeds in the region should be instituted and seed subsidy should commence early to ensure successful implementation of the programme”.
Mr Humado said the programme that was introduced in 2008 had affected the equitable disbursement of the annual budget of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
He explained that the programme had taken a greater percentage of the Ministry’s annual budget to the detriment of adequate provision of logistics and facilities to the Regional and District Directorates.
Mr Humado said development partners who assisted government to finance the programme, had withdrawn because Ghana had now become a lower-middle income country.
“This necessitated a review of the programme for farmers to pay more, “ he said.
Dr Cyril Quist, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Agriculture, said the region was the country’s leading producer of maize, second leading producer of cassava, and had contributed about 65 per cent of roots and tuber crops.
He said various government interventions such as the Block Farming and Root and Tuber Improvement Programme had helped to increase agricultural productivity in and now had excess stock of maize.
Dr. Quist said challenges of the agricultural sector in the region, were lack of accommodation for workers in the newly-created districts, inadequate number of tractors, encroachment of lands and uncompleted projects.