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Ministry working alongside security to halt fertiliser smuggling – Deputy Agric Minister

Deputy Agric Minister Dr Yaw Addo Frimpong says the ministry is mapping out better strategies to get fertilisers to farmers across the country directly.

Speaking on Newsnight, on Tuesday, he explained that this measure among others will help the ministry to solve the canker of fertiliser smuggling in the northern parts of the country.

“I am sure with the measures we are putting in place, next year we will not face these challenges. We now have identified the causes and everything. We are mapping up better strategies to get fertilisers to farmers directly that will cut off these distributors, the way fertilisers get missing and re-bagged and all that.”

He stated that since the Agric Ministry cannot fight the canker alone, it is partnering with National Security, Immigration Service and the Ghana Police Service to find a lasting solution to the problem, adding that he sees smuggling of fertilisers as a national issue.

His comment comes after an acute shortage of subsidised fertiliser hit some parts of northern Ghana.

Farmers in the regions say they do not have access to the fertilisers adding that the prices of some of the products in the open market are expensive.

The Deputy Minister, who revealed that the issue of shortage had been dealt with some weeks ago, said checks need to be done in the region to ascertain where the fertilisers go when distributed in the regions.

“If people are smuggling this product across the borders, the Ministry of Agric is limited in its operations. Ours is to get the product to the distributors, they will give it to the farmers and somehow if these things find their way out of the country. It is a security issue.”

Meanwhile, the government, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced a release of over GH¢260 million for the payment of arrears owed to fertiliser companies from May to July 2021.

Dr Afriyie-Akoto explained that the funds released comprised an amount of GH¢176,631,445 but the actual payment made to the companies this far was GH¢73.8 million, which he said was being processed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the GIFMIS system.

He said the payment represented 44 per cent of the total debt of GH¢587,876,784 owed all the fertiliser companies that supplied fertilisers to all the farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

When asked if the money has been paid as announced, Dr Frimpong stated that “it is the Ministry of Finance that will be the best to answer this question, I know about the money but as for its disbursement, I cannot tell. I need to find out from the ministry.

Source:Fiilafmonline/JoyNews

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