The Chief Executive Officer of BEIT Farms, Farmer Evans Larbi says the government Fertiliser Subsidy Programme must be scrapped now because there is a lack of efficiency and transparency in the programme.
Farmer Larbi explained that annually the government allocates about 207 million Ghana cedi’s for the scheme to import fertilizers, which are subsequently supposed to be sold to farmers at 50% of the original market price; but the farmer says they are not benefiting, raising questions about where exactly the subsidized fertilizers go.
“If Ghana and Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 then the Fertiliser Subsidy Programme introduced by the government must be scrapped now,” he said.
Farmer Larbi made these remarks in an exclusive interview with this reporter on Ghana’s Agricultural Sector, challenges smallholder farmers are facing and how sector players are not plateful.
He said the discussion had been that the youth could find employment in Agriculture but often times the sector is being mismanaged, the very sector that could employ majority of the youth of Ghana and Africa.
“This farming season, a number of my colleagues and I across the country did not benefit from the Fertiliser Subsidy Programme. We are buying from the open market at a very high price, making things difficult and expensive for young farmers like myself.
…This farming season, my vegetables did not mature as it used to because of lack of fertilizer and change in climate pattern around Greater Accra and its environs. I grow vegetables such as Onions, Pepper, Tomato, Okra, Eggplant, Carrots and Cabbage,” he mentioned.
Farmer Larbi said farmers were shocked at recent disclosures by the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat that Ghana lost a whopping 120 million Ghana cedi from unaccounted for subsidized fertilizers in 2017 and 2018 planting seasons alone.
“This is a threat to the nation’s food security; Productivity on a lot of our farms remains low and that is a source of worry” he pointed out.
The CEO used the opportunity to call on the Banking Institutions in the country to invest in the building of irrigation systems and Dams across the country for the youth in Agriculture.
“I am not saying build it for us for free; it should come with a cost and we will pay for that services.
Dams provide secure annual water supply for consumptive purposes including irrigation, stock and domestic purposes.
They are important because they improve the viability and productivity of agricultural activities in a local region,” he added.