Members of the Ghana Agro Inputs Dealers Association (GAIDA), have been cautioned against conniving with officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to engage in racketeering of fertilizer subsidization coupons meant for farmers.

Mr Godwin Ocloo, Eastern Regional Director of MOFA, who made the call at the opening of a three-day technical training workshop for members of the association at Koforidua on Thursday, said such unscrupulous officials made coupon claims even when fertilizers had not been sold at subsidized price.

The workshop was to upgrade the knowledge of the dealers on the toxicity of agro inputs and legalities and technicalities involved in ensuring that they complied with rules regulating their operations.

Mr Ocloo further alleged that some officials of MOFA had attempted to transfer coupons to other regions with the hope of conniving with input dealers to make claims for subsidized fertilizers.

He said government placed high premium on the subsidization of fertilizer and would not tolerate any action(s) that would sabotage the process.

Mr Ocloo explained that the coupon system was introduced last year which guaranteed 50 per cent subsidy for the purchase of fertilizer by farmers.

He said there was the need to educate GAIDA members on the legalities and the technicalities of agro products, most especially because, they provided essential services to farmers and contributed to the promotion of agriculture.

Mr Ocloo said while the members provided agro inputs, MOFA was expected to offer education and technical advice on the usage of the products.

Mr Francis Nyagbenu, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Officer in charge of Pesticides, said that out of over 70 members dealing in agro inputs only 22 had registered with the EPA.

He said that from next month the EPA in collaboration with MOFA would mount an exercise to check for agro inputs shops operating without registration.

Mr Nyagbenu indicated that because most chemicals being used by farmers contained toxic waste dealers in such inputs were required to register with the EPA for directions on the usage and handling of products.

Mr Solomon Amartey, Regional chairman of GAIDA, said the workshop that was being organized by the GAIDA simultaneously in all the ten regions of the country, was under the auspices of the Ghana Agro Dealers Development Project (GADD).

Source: GNA