Under 2019 Planting for Food programme

GOVERNMENT is providing GH₵ 400 million by way of subsidy to at least 1,000,000 beneficiary farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ) this year.

In view of this, government is to make available 320, 000 metric tonnes of organic and inorganic fertilizers for distribution to these farmers.
Over 40 companies who took part in a bidding process have been selected to supply the inorganic and organic fertilizers.

These companies shall import, clear the fertilizers from the port of entry, and distribute to the regions and districts for sale to farmers by their registered sales agents.

Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, disclosed this when he launched the 2019 PFJ National Fertilizer Subsidy programme yesterday.

The country loses $12 million annually as a result of smuggled seeds and fertilizers to neigbouring countries.

In view of this, the sector minister urged all farmers, input distributors and all stakeholders to play their roles under the programme effectively to make sure that the farm inputs government is paying are put to good use for the benefit of Ghanaians and not smuggled out to neighbouring countries.

According to him, in PJF, government has a dream to maximize food production in the country, stating that following the successive successful campaigns in 2017 and 2018, the nation is benefitting from bumper a harvest which has enabled Ghana to export excess food stuffs such as maize, sorghum, cowpea, plantain and yam to Burkina Faso and Cote d’voire.

He said in addition to maize, rice, sorghum, soyabean, groundnut and cassava that were promoted in 2017 and 2018, crops such as cowpea, orange flesh sweet potato, plantain and yam have been added under the 2019 campaign.

Vegetable crops such as cabbage, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, tomato, pepper and onion, he said, will still be promoted in 2019.

As part of the launch, the ministry announced the selling prices of the various inputs under 2019 campaign with effect from yesterday January 23, 2019.

All types of NPK inorganic fertilizer is priced at GH₵ 75 per 50 Kg bag and Urea going for GH₵ 70 per 50Kg bag.
For organic fertilizers, Granular, Compost and Liquid are priced at for GH₵ 45 per 25 kg bag, GH₵ 20 per 50kg bag and GH₵19 per liter respectively.

Farmers and general public are consequently advised to report any dealer selling subsidized fertilizers above the announced prices to any agricultural official or to the nearest security agency.

With seeds, maize (OPV), rice, sorghum and groundnut seeds are priced at GH₵ 2 per Kg whiles maize (hybrid), soyabean and cowpea are priced at GH₵ 3 per Kg.

Following the launch, all participating fertilizer and seed companies are being requested to commence distribution to the regions, districts and farming communities.

Operational modalities

To ensure efficiency and value for money and to minimize smuggling in the distribution of fertilizers to beneficiary farmers under the PFJ, the ministry will roll out the following implementation modalities with the support of National Builders Corps (NABCO) officials.

NABCO officials will be placed at all retail outlets in the three northern Regions to supervise and record the quantities of fertilizers and seeds sold to farmers.

Sales records of the retailers will be reconciled with NABCO officials and invoices generated and submitted by the companies to the Ministry for payment.

Additionally, all fertilizers and seeds will be bagged with PFJ labels and fertilizers to be sold in the three Northern regions will be bagged in only 25 Kg bags and those to be sold in the southern sector will be bagged in 50 kg bags.

Also, all copies of way bills on all fertilizers and seeds consignments must be submitted to the Regional Coordinating Councils through the Regional Directors of Agriculture.

He indicated that the ministry will continue to support institutions such as universities, second cycle institutions, churches, prisons and chiefs by providing them with subsidized fertilizers, seeds and tractors where necessary.

On the threat of armyworm outbreak, he said the Task Force that was put in place to tackle the problem has been successful in their mission, pledging that the ministry will continue to stay alert to deal with the problem if they should reemerge.

Dr Akoto appealed to the public, especially farmers, to report immediately to their extension officers and district authorities when they detect the outbreak.

Credit: The Finder

(By John Elliot HAGAN)