Supply of subsidised fertiliser delays … Ashanti farmers worried over development
By: Issah Alhassan, Kumasi
The delay of the government in announcing this year’s fertiliser subsidy programme could have adverse effects on Ghana’s food stocks, an investigation by The Chronicle indicates.
Food stocks in the middle-belt zone, particularly, in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, could suffer serious setbacks, following the delay in the implementation of the annual fertiliser subvention programme that offers the opportunity for farmers to access fertiliser at cheaper cost to apply on their crops.
Cereal crops and legumes planted across the middle belt have currently reached mature stages, and may require the application of fertilisers such as NPK15-15-15 and Ammonia, but reports indicate that many farmers in areas such as Ejura, Atebubu, Amanten, and other surrounding communities are in a limbo, as they anxiously await the government’s announcement.
According to information, the unusual delay in announcing the price, thereby enabling suppliers to make the product accessible to the poor farmers, had left many crops at the mercy of the scorching sun and other unfavourable weather conditions, a situation likely to affect this year’s food produce.
The huge prices of unsubsidised fertiliser, The Chronicle gathered, is a great disincentive to the farmers, as most of them are unable to afford the realistic prices, and depend annually on the subsidy programme.
The prices of unsubsidised fertilisers range between GH¢65 and GH¢70 for NPK, and GH¢30 and GH¢35 per bag of Ammonia, compared to GH¢30 and GH¢15 for the government subsidised ones.
Various farmers’ associations within the middle zone have, therefore, appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, hasten the implementation of the programme to save their farm yields and avoid the disaster of the country being plunged into serious food crisis.
The farmers bewailed that though the fertilisers are readily available on the market, they were unable to purchase them because of the high prices.
A spokesperson of the aggrieved farmers, Abdul Rahman Yanga, told the paper that their crops were slowly dying, and that if the prices of the subsidised fertilizers were not immediately announced, they could lose massive yields this year.
The spokesperson indicated that the areas mentioned were major food baskets for Ghanaians in the southern sector, and should the government refuse to pay heed to their appeal, there was the likelihood that many more Ghanaians would struggle to afford cereals this year.
According to him, farmers in Ghana had the potential to produce food to satisfy citizens of this country and even export abroad, but since support of such a nature wad not forthcoming, they were unable to produce large quantities.
Abdul Rahman, therefore, cautioned that farmers in the area, and for that matter Ghanaians, would not forgive the government should they fail to put measures in place to ensure the availability of food during this year’s crop season.
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