The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), has sensitized smallholder farmers on the 2021 Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (FSP) implementation guidelines being rolled out by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to increase farmers' interest and enhance their participation in the programme.
The FSP is an initiative under the government's flagship, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, that seeks to support smallholder farmers to buy adequate fertilizers for their farms.
The rolled-out guidelines for the FSP's implementation would ensure efficient and equitable distribution of subsidized fertilizers to smallholder farmers to boost crop production in the country.
The sensitization workshop, held in Tamale, was organized by the PFAG in collaboration with the MoFA, with support from the International Budget Partnership (IBP), and brought together selected farmers drawn from the Northern Region.
Mr Dauda Abdul Salam, Northern Regional PFJ Desk Officer, who made a presentation on the modalities, said as part of the FSP' implementation guidelines, fertilizers to be sold under the PFJ programme would be packaged in sacks with PFJ logos, labels and inscriptions.
He said, "Participating fertilizer companies who will furnish MoFA with purchasing agreements from other companies must at all times invite MoFA to take stocks of the fertilizers before distribution commence".
He noted that copies of waybills on all fertilizer consignments must be submitted to Regional Ministers or their representatives for endorsement before offloading or sending to the districts and communities.
Mr Salam added, "In a situation where the destination of the consignment is not a regional capital, the waybill of the consignment must be endorsed by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and copies sent to the Regional Minister by the company for endorsement".
"Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) officials will be placed at all retail outlets in all regions to supervise and record the quantities of fertilizers being sold to farmers through the use of daily records sheets", he indicated.
Dr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, Head of Programmes and Advocacy at the PFAG, said although the fertilizer subsidy programme had benefited many farmers over the years, there were some challenges and the government needed to put in place stringent measures to curtail them.
He mentioned smuggling, hoarding, diversion, poor targeting of beneficiaries as some of the underlying issues confronting the successful implementation of the programme, adding; "irrespective of the subsidies, prices are still higher beyond the purchasing power of smallholder farmers".
He called on the MoFA to increase collaboration with traditional leaders, police officers, farmer groups, Assembly Members and other focal groups to join forces to improve on the monitoring of subsidized fertilizer distribution at the community level.
Hajia Hawa Musah, Northern Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, encouraged women farmers to take advantage of the PFJ programme and create employment opportunities for themselves to improve their livelihoods.