Fertilizers meant for distribution to farmers in the Volta Region as part of government's Planting for Food and Jobs programme, are being smuggled to the Republic of Togo.
This was disclosed by the Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, during the first Volta Regional Coordinating Council Meeting since the change of government.
According to Dr Letsa, information reaching the VRCC from some districts indicate that some individuals are smuggling the fertilizers to the Republic of Togo where it costs higher, hence an avenue for undue money making for the perpetrators.
The fertilizers have been highly subsidized making it cheaper to acquire by Ghanaian farmers. Under the programme, farmers are required to pay 25% of the cost of fertilizers up front and another 25% after harvesting, and the government pays off the other half (50%) as an incentive to boost agriculture in the country.
"It is unfortunate that some of our fertilizers are being smuggled across to be sold in the Republic of Togo. We have had complaints from some districts."
He urged the various Municipal and District Chief Executives to see to it that the people responsible for the smuggling of the subsidized fertilizers are brought to book.
"At the Regional level, the Planting for Food and Jobs programme has been rolled out in all the 25 Districts across the Region. The programme registered and distributed inputs to 9,284 farmers made up of 6,991 males and 2,293 females," said the Volta Regional Minister.
However, the programme has been bedeviled by the invasion of the fall armyworm which ravaged some farms.
So far about 7,165 hectares of maize farms have been affected, involving 5,128 farmers across the Region. This, Dr. Letsa said, is under control.
"A total of 3,892.8 liters and 107.98 kilograms of chemicals have so far been supplied to control the incidence. The agro chemicals received and distributed to the affected farmers covered about 70% of the affected farms.
"There is, therefore, the need to continuously sensitize the public and establish more surveillance systems to control the outbreak."