Gov’t scraps free fertilizer policy

Government has indicated that it is scrapping the free fertilizer distribution policy aimed at aiding Cocoa farmers in the country.

This was because the policy had failed to the target farmers, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of COCOBOD told Starr Business.

He said the abolished programme will be replaced by the re-introduction of the mass cocoa spraying exercise.

Government in April 2016 began the free fertilizer distribution programme which sought to provide over 2.5 million bags of fertilizer for farmers throughout the country.

The process was, however, marred by acrimony and theft with most farmers complaining the fertilizers end up in shops for sale.

According to Mr. Aidoo, a new technology would be introduced where farmers would buy fertilizers with a subsidy chit on the farmer’s mobile phone.

“Every cocoa farmer is going to be given an electronic code and then using the code the farmer can access the subsidy,” he stated.

A farmer without the subsidy coupon, he pointed out, would have to pay the actual market price for the fertilizer.

He said there would be a comprehensive mechanism to track farmers who are benefiting from the subsidies to be introduced by government in order to strike out charlatans who have infiltrated the cocoa sector.

On the mass spraying exercise, he noted that all cocoa farmers will enjoy the mass spraying exercise. “In order to control pest resistance we intend to spray all cocoa farms when the new program is rolled out”.

The mass cocoa spraying exercise was first introduced by the Kufuor administration and it is believed to have contributed significantly to the boost in cocoa production.