The Peasant Farmers Association is warning of low crop yield in the coming years if government fails to halt the smuggling of subsidized fertilizers.
The concerns of the farmers come after several reports of smuggled subsidized fertilizers from Ghana to neighboring countries including Burkina Faso. In 2019 alone — about seven cases have been recorded by the police.
In April, two trucks carrying 2,000 bags were impounded by police in the Upper West Region. Two months later, 4,000 bags of smuggled fertilizer were retrieved around the Paga border in the Kassana-Nankana west District of the Upper East Region. And just last week, five trucks carrying a total of 4,000 fertilizers were impounded by the Somanya Police Command in the Eastern Region.
Per the subsidy, farmers are supposed to pay half the price for a sack (50kg) of fertilizer which costs between Ghc140 and Ghc150 to enable them to expand their farms and increase crop yield.
However, the farmers complain that they are not able to access the product due to incessant smuggling.
“The smuggling has increased in volume and numbers, it has increased so much so that this year it’s just too bad,” Victoria Adongo, one of the farmers expressed.
“Anywhere we go they say the fertilizer is finished, you ask them why and the dealers say they are finished. For how long can we continue to wait? Fertilizers go with a timeframe, if you plant your crop within a certain timeframe, rice for instance after forty days if you don’t apply the fertilizer and reapply, you will not feel the effect so it means that you are only putting your money in, you are not going to get the results that you are expecting,” another farmer, Charles Nyaaba also lamented.
Thirty-eight-year-old Mugiss Badigamsi Abdulai says the campaign to encourage the youth to take up agriculture may not yield the needed results if the problem is not solved immediately.
“If you go into farming, you prepare your land, you have the seed and you sow, and you cannot get subsidized fertilizer, it frustrates you as a youth. Once you are frustrated, you will not be able to encourage others to venture into farming,” he said
The Peasant Farmers Association expressed fear the trend will impact negatively on food production.
Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, President of the Association to Citi Business News said subsidized fertilizer had a noble objective for the Ghanaian farmer.
“The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana based on the rice production initiative that the government has brought into 2019 production season, we decided to help our farmers to produce 500 hectares of rice in Mamprugu- Modulu district, up till date we cannot get fertilizers to apply to the farms and they are about 50 days old,” he said.
Meanwhile, the farmers can only hope that initiatives including the digitization of the fertilizer distribution process can help reduce the trend of smuggling.