The Association acknowledges that the role of the fertilizer subsidy programme is crucial to small-holder farmers and needed critical attention for the purposes of poverty reduction.

The Association lauds the fertilizer subsidy initiative describing it as a useful policy that has since its inception increased food production and ensured food security.

It adds that the policy has the potential to boost economic development and the structural change needed to reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in Ghana.

The Association however, bemoans the delays in the distribution and thus, demand of government to improve on the time the fertilizer is delivered to farmers.

The agriculture sector plays a key role in the overall economic growth and development of Ghana and employs more than 50.percent of the country’s 25 million people. However, fertilizer application in the country is one of the lowest in the world.

To that effect, the government in 2008, introduced the fertilizer subsidy programme to help farmers increase their rate of fertilizer application as a means of increasing crop productivity.

These were contained in a position paper presented by the Association to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at a policy dialogue session on the implementation of the fertilizer subsidy programme in Accra recently.

The Position paper emphasised the need to focus attention on improving efficiency and effectiveness of the subsidy programme while exploring ways to reduce reliance on inorganic fertilizers through improved soil fertility management.

It also called for the introduction of input subsidy policy with clear sources of funding and sustainability.

The Paper further demanded a renewed efforts to improve data gathering and research to track progress to improve transparency and communication with farmers on the quantities of inputs subsidized.

It reaffirmed the Association’s commitment to working with government and other

Stakeholders to ensure that the benefits of the programme to smallholder farmers were maximized.

Deputy Minister for Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Hon, Dr Yakubu Alhassan indicated that the fertilizer subsidy programme could not be made open to capture all crops but rather are targeted at food crops that contribute to food security.

Dr Alhassan said he understood the frustration of farmers in terms of the delays in the disbursement of fertilizer, adding that “the hitches are not deliberate.”

He added, “We always want to start the delivery as early as possible but there are procurement processes, hence you need to go through it.”

By Mohammed Suleman/PA STORY


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