Agric Ministry reduces subsidies on fertiliser

?????????????????????????????The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), yesterday announced a 21 per cent fertiliser and seed subsidy programme for the 2015 farming season with effect from tomorrow.

With this new arrangement, all types of compound fertilisers costing GH¢115 per 50kg bag will now attract GH¢89 per 50kg bag, while urea which fetches GH¢105 per 50kg bag will sell at GH¢84 per 50kg bag.

Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, Minister of MOFA, who announced this in Accra at a news conference said that the government has targeted to subsidise 180,000mt of granular fertiliser at a cost of GH¢87,600,000.

Additionally, it has also targeted to subsidise 4,000mt of certified seed at the cost of GH¢3,000,000.

Mr. Kwetey said the 2015 subsidy programme would be given to some category of farmers who are women, smallholders cultivating maize, rice, sorghum and millet with priority on food crop farmers.

Also, registered out-grower farmers/companies would be considered under the programme, he said adding that, cotton farmers operating under recognised nucleus farmers in the north would also benefit.

He said a food crop farmer whether on his/her own or as a member of an out-grower scheme, would be entitled to not more than the fertiliser inputs for two hectares of farm, amounting to 10 bags of compound fertiliser and five bags of urea.

Mr. Kwetey said while the implementation of subsidies had brought about increased crop production and stability of food security, it had also come at an increasing cost to the government.

According to him, the reduction of domestic fertiliser prices had created a wide gap between prices of fertilisers in Ghana and prices of similar products in neighbouring countries.

“This year’s prices of fertiliser are meant to reduce the disparity between prices with our neighbouring countries so as to make it unattractive to smuggle to neighbouring countries,” he explained.

Mr. Kwetey said the government, therefore, expects farmers, input distributors and all stakeholders to co-operate with MOFA to ensure that “farm inputs which the government is paying so much for, are put into the soil for the benefit of Ghanaians and not smuggled to neighbouring countries”.

He charged farmers and the public to report any dealer selling subsidised inputs above the stipulated prices, and also urged the security agencies to arrest and prosecute people who smuggle subsidised inputs across the borders.

By Joseph Edu Archison   

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