Farmers across the country are not enjoying the full impact of government-subsidized fertilizer seeds, the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has indicated.
They blame the situation on the distribution of inappropriate seeds and/or grains which in turn reduces the germination population of farmers yields.
Government as part of efforts to enhance agricultural productivity and bringing relief to farmers announced that a total of two Hundred and Seven Million Ghana cedis (GHC 207m) would be spent on its National Fertilizer Subsidy Programmes.
This amount represented an almost 50% price cut for beneficiary farmers in both organic and inorganic fertilizers.
But the General Secretary for GAWU said Edward Kareweh said “as much as the figures for the subsidy of fertilizer seeds has been growing, the full impact of it, the benefit of it has not got to farmers. According to him, there’ve been instances where farmers have been given the wrong seeds which are not certified.”
He told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr as part of conversation prior to the State of the Nation Address by President Akufo-Addo today that “sometimes they are given grains instead of seeds. So, if you get the grain for the seed, then your germination population will be low and that will eventually affect your total output since the plant population will be low.”
He further noted that less than 50% is actually being subsidized “how the subsidy is also implemented. even though 50% is supposed to be subsidized, the current situation is that less than 50% have been subsidized, about 38-40% of it have been subsidized, not 50%.”
“And you can arrive at this by looking at the market price and then the price at which subsidized fertilizer is sold to farmers.”
On the purported hike in food production, he said “there is clear evidence that much as we have been told that the food production has gone up, the price in the market does not support that. Because the essence of increasing food production is to make it available and affordable and that is not what we are experiencing. It is not affordable because the price has gone up so high and its not even available.”
“If you come to tomatoes, for instance, you will see that it’s just simply not available. And we have heard recently what transporters and market women had to go through when they have to make the import from Burkina Faso. So, all these things put together, the agricultural sector, though, appears to be making progress in terms of figures and so on is not so admirable as we expected it when they launched the planting for food and jobs.”