The Member of Parliament for Garu Constituency, Hon Albert Akuka Alalzuuga has dragged the Minister for Food and Agriculture to parliament to explain how quantities of fertilizer meant for farmers in the Constituency are sold.
According to him, farmers within the Garu enclave could not access government-subsidized fertilizer since 2021 and those available in the market by private and commercial suppliers are expensive.
He said persons who supply fertilizer in the area have also quadrupled the prices, casting on transportation costs from down South to the North.
Mr. Akuka disclosed this when he posed a question to the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto in Parliament last Friday, March 11, 2022.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture who the suppliers of the Government-subsidised fertilizers in the Garu District are, and what quantities have been supplied to them since the beginning of the 2021 farming season,” Mr. Akuka queried the Minister on the floor of parliament.
In response, the sector Minister, Dr. Afriyie Akoto said, under the 2021 Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) campaign, a total of seventy-one fertilizer and eighty seed companies were contracted to supply subsidized fertilizers (organic and inorganic) and improved seeds to farmers throughout the country.
According to the Minister, the procurement of the inputs was undertaken to ensure the availability and accessibility of the inputs to farmers through a network of distributors of participating companies and retailers across the country.
The Minister explained that, unlike preceding years, the participating companies in the 2021 subsidy program were not limited to specific Districts as they had the liberty to identify and enter any market of their choice in the country,
Nevertheless, Dr Akoto said, as part of measures to curtail smuggling, the movement of subsidized fertilizers were restricted in 22 border Municipalities and Districts in five regions, the Garu District was equally affected by the restrictive policy.
“Mr. Speaker reports received by my Ministry on the PFJ subsidized programme in the various regions inform that a total of 35,200 bags of subsidised NPK and 1,000 Urea fertilizers were procured by 4,160 farmers in the Garu district. Ten (10) participating companies in the programme made the inputs available for patronage by interested farmers.
“The report also indicates that 7,520 bags of subsidized organic fertilizers were available for farmers in the Garu District during the period under review.
“Mr. Speaker, no company was specifically assigned to the Garu District during the 2021 campaign based on the policy of flexibility and discretion of participating companies,” the Sector Minister stated.
But Hon Akuka debunked the Ministry claims that the people of Garu engaged in smuggling of fertilizer as the District is not a border District.
He, however, demanded that the Minister apologise to the people of Garu for labeling them as persons involved in fertilizers smuggling in the country since that sort of business does not form part of their business.
The lawmaker expressed surprise at the Minister’s assertion as Gar is not a border District and urged that the Minister unreservedly apologise to the people and also take steps to help reduce the transportation of fertilizer to reduce its cost to farmers.
He said, despite the government subsidy, many of the fertilizer suppliers in the District have increased the prices thereby making it costly for farmers.
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