Stopping fertiliser smuggling is key for agric – Dr. Afriyie Akoto

The Minister Nominee for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has stated that the smuggling of fertilizer outside of the country are part of the reasons for the decline in growth of the agricultural sector.

Speaking at the appointment committee of Parliament, Dr. Afriyie Akoto maintained that the development has resulted in farmers receiving inadequate amounts of fertilizer to increase their yield.

The Minister Nominee was optimistic of increased yields should farmers be given adequate amount of fertilizers and inputs at an affordable price production will be greatly increased.

“Regarding the supply of fertiliser, the actual amount of contributions that was going to farmers was far less than what was claimed by the regime. As a matter of fact, there were reports of mass smuggling of chemicals across West Africa and former President Mahama actually confirmed this incident during one of his visits,” he asserted.

The issue, in the Agric Economist’s view has extended to other countries in the sub-region; Cameroon and Niger.

This he argues has deprived Ghanaian farmers of their due in terms of the fertiliser subsidy program.

In effect, Dr. Akoto has blamed the low producer price for farmers on the perpetration of the illegal activity.

Citi Business News earlier reported that the government had defaulted on payments for suppliers of subsidized fertilizers since 2012.

This led to the suspension of fertilizer supplies to fruit and vegetable farmers across the country, as suppliers demanded their outstanding arrears.

Some farmers went out of business following complaints about the high cost of inputs and lack of support from the government.

According to the then Minister of Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado, government was working on paying the arrears by the end of the week in which the matter arouse.

“The problem we are having currently where fertilizers are not reaching farmers right now is because we owe arrears to suppliers from 2012, we haven’t paid, and the companies are no more ready to participate in the subsidy program.

It is an issue I’m taking up with the then Minister of Finance and the President”, he said.

According to Mr. Humado, government will consider all its options, including suspending the fertilizer subsidy program.

By: Anita Arthur/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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