FARMERS MUST PAY FOR FERTILIZERS – AGRIC MINISTRY
Public Relations Director for the Agric Ministry, Alhassan Issah has clarified that farmers are supposed to pay for fertilizers at subsidized rate .
According to him, fertilizers are being given to the farmers at a subsidized price, where government pays 40 percent of the actual price of the fertilizer for the farmers to pay 60 percent.
The clarification comes after some farmers at Akataniase in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region accused extension officers of the Planting for Food and Jobs scheme of taking monies from them for fertilizers that were meant to be free.
Speaking with Ekourba Gyasi Simpremu on Atinka TV’s morning show, Ghana Nie, Alhassan Issah said,”In 2017, the farmer’s economic status was down and so we started with 50 percent where government paid 50 percent and the farmers also paid 50 percent, but with time, it was reviewed to 40 and 60 where the farmers pay 60 percent and the government pays 40 percent.”
He explained that the percentage was reviewed when government noticed a tremendous improvement in the farmers ability to produce and also retain economic power.
He mentioned that government invested over GHC400,000,000 into the subsidization of fertilizers yearly, therefore at the point where the farmers could retain economic power, it had become necessary that government reviews the percentage of the subsidized amount.
When asked who qualified to benefit from the subsidised amount, Alhassan Issah said all farmers who register at the various District Agricultural offices are entitled to the fertilizers.
He said cocoa farmers under planting for food and jobs also qualify to benefit from the subsudised fertilizers once they register their farm lands at the District offices.
“If you do not register at the district offices, you will buy the fertilizer at an open price and you will not benefit from the government’s subsidy,” he said.
Akataniase Farmer’s confusion
Explaining why some extension officers are taking monies from farmers are Akataniase he said,”The difference is that, cocoa farmers and their chief cocoa farmers normally have special arrangements for the welfare of cocoa farmers on the distribution of fertilizers but under the planting for food and jobs which is helping farmers with fertilizers, no one has the right to take any amount from the farmers apart from the subsidised price of the fertilizer.”
He explained further that the cocoa farmer fertilizer system is different from that of food crops, adding that, “For cocoa farmers, it could be that the Cocoa Farmers Association can decide to do something for extension officers but if anyone cannot pay, it should not be forced.”
Meanwhile, he urged farmers at Akataniase to make an official report to the District Agric Office in the area for further action.