Peasant farmers raise red flag … over cash repayment

Dr Afriyie Akoto, Agric Minister

Dr Afriyie Akoto, Agric Minister

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has asked government to rescind its unilateral decision to accept only cash repayment of inputs supplied to farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

The request was in response to a directive by the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to all district directors of agriculture to begin recovery of the cost of inputs only in cash from beneficiary farmers due to logistical challenges and food safety issues associated with repayment with farm produce.

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Charles Nyaaba, Programme Officer, PFAG, said the decision was “in bad faith and breaches the laid down agreement between government, through the Ministry, and beneficiaries of the programme prior to its inception.”

According to him, before the programme commenced earlier this year, the Ministry of Agriculture and its various representatives at the regional and district level, indicated to the farmers about government’s plans to provide 50 per cent input support of which the beneficiaries were to make down payment of 25 per cent and the other 25 per cent paid with farm produce.

Subsequently, several meetings between the farmers and the district directorate in September this year, he said emphasised the same repayment model.

Based on the agreement, many farmers relied and accepted the plan as a way of addressing the problem of market access, reduce post-harvest losses and resolve the problem of low prices due to glut of mass sales to offset credit, he explained.

Mr Nyaaba said the new directive from government would give avenue for dishonest farmers to find reasons for non-payment and lead to low recovery.

Rather than reneging on its earlier position, the Programme Officer urged government to accept in-kind repayment and sell afterwards through the National Food Buffer Stock Company, School Feeding Programme and other projects.

He further urged all farmers including the PFAG members who benefitted from the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to make their produce or cash ready for repayment adding that the group would not hesitate to hand over any defaulting member for necessary action.

 

By Claude Nyarko Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

email
Print Friendly

Leave a Comment