Ghana Journalists Want Reforms In Fertilizer Subsidy Scheme
The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has petitioned the sector minister to urgently reform the country’s fertilizer subsidy programme over allegations of poor management and corruption.
The fertilizer subsidy scheme, established in 2008, was purposed to ensure farmers get access to fertilizer discounted by the government at 50% of the market price.
But according to the GARDJA, its engagement with farmers across the country reveal as much as 3 out of 4 farmers surveyed are not benefitting from the intervention.
“We gather that annually, the government allocates about 207 million Ghana Cedis for the scheme to import fertilisers, which are subsequently supposed to be sold to farmers at 50% of the original market price. But the farmers say they are not benefiting, raising questions about where exactly the subsidized fertilisers go”, stated a press release copied to Cocoa Post.
The agricultural journalists pointed to “alleged corruption, poor management, outright stealing and smuggling” as some factors derailing the fertilizer subsidy scheme.
“We were shocked at recent disclosures by the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat that Ghana lost a whopping 120 million Ghana Cedis from unaccounted for subsidized fertilizers, diversion of coupons and smuggling in the 2017 and 2018 planting seasons alone”, noted GARDJA.
The association observed the situation as a threat to the sustainability of the fertilizer subsidy scheme and a threat to the nation’s food security as a whole.”
They have subsequently petitioned the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to immediately intervene to “ensure efficiency and transparency in the programme.”
Among their recommendations, GARDJA has called on the Agric Minister to collaborate with the Minister of the Interior and Attorney General to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators.
It also wants an immediate review of the current management of the scheme to involve identifiable farmer cooperatives and associations for transparent implementation of the laudable programme.
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