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Mixed reactions over new fertiliser distribution guidelines for PFJs   
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Government plans to eliminate fertilizer smuggling in the agricultural value chain to allow farmers the chance to improve on their production in the 2019 farming season has received mixed reactions by input dealers in the Sissala East Municipality.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, while some input dealers commended the officials for coming up with the fresh guidelines to streamline the distribution of the manure, others felt a lot more was needed to curb smuggling of the subsidized product.

Supporters of the move said the operational modalities by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture would ensure efficiency and value for money as well as minimize smuggling of fertilizers under the Planting of Food and Jobs (PFJs) scheme launched in 2017.

According to the guidelines introduced, all fertilizers and seeds will be bagged with PFJ labels while fertilizers to be sold in the three northern regions will be bagged in 25 kg bags but fertilizers to be sold in the southern sector will be bagged in 50 kg bags.

The approved selling prices for fertilizers in 2019” are quoted as: Fertilizers (Inorganic) - NPK (All types) – GH¢75 per 50KG bag; Urea – GH¢70 per 50KG bag; Fertilizers (Organic); Granular – GH¢45 per 25KG bag; Compost – GH¢20 per 50 KG bag and Liquid – GH¢19 per litre.

The selling prices for seeds include: Maize (OPV) – GH¢2 per KG; Maize (Hybrid) – GH¢3 per KG; Rice – GH¢2 per KG; Soybean – GH¢3 per KG; Sorghum – GH¢2 per KG; Groundnut – GH¢2 per KG and Cowpea – GH¢3 per KG.

Alhaji Mohammed Daab, the Manager of Modab Enterprise, commended the effort as a good one but cautioned that it might not end smuggling completely and urged government to take concrete steps to ensure that proper security measures are instituted to arrest the smuggling challenge.

He questioned, “why the three regions in northern Ghana would have their fertilizer packaged in 25kg bags whilst the southern would have the 50kg.

Ibrahim Basuglo, owner of Sankofa Agro Chemicals, said smuggling was not limited only to the three northern regions but transcends to towns in southern Ghana that share border with Cote d’ Ivoire and Togo.

He claimed that the fertiliser smuggling to neighbouring Burkina Faso was largely triggered by failure of politicians to get the products on time for farmers during the crop seasons which gravely affected production.

He appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to release the fertilizers to the farming communities before the farming season commences by May/June 2019.

Based on consultation with stakeholders, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has announced the selling prices of various types of inputs with effect from 23rd January 2019.

The Ministry vowed to halt fertilizer smuggling by resolving to implement the modalities with the support of personnel of Nation Builders Corp.

The government seeks to ensure food security in the country by removing myriad of bottlenecks to hamper successful implementation of the PFJs programme.

Source: GNA

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