Auditor-General indicts MoFA for failing to recover PFJ loans

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has been indicted for the poor pace at which it is recovering debts owed as loans granted to farmers under the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.

Out of the total of GH¢5,575,736 granted to the farmers across the PFJ farming zones nationwide, only GH¢2,686,453.53 has been recovered, leaving an outstanding amount of GH¢2,889,286.

Consequently, the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, is expressing fears that the sustainability of the PFJ programme would be affected considering the poor manner in which the loans were being recovered from the farmers.

He therefore, recommends that the ministry institutes immediate measures that would ensure prompt compliance with the loans repayment schedule.

It named a total of 19 units of the ministry who dispensed the loans and are not putting in the necessary measures to recover the monies for sustainability of the programme.

They are the Agric Development Units of the MoFA in Tamale, Kumbungu and Savelugu in the Northern, Bolgatanga, Zebilla, Nabdam and Paga in the Upper East, Jasikan in Oti; Assin South and Agona Nsaba in the Central regions.  

The rest are Dormaa Ahenkro in Bono, Nkoranza South, Nkoranza North,  Wenchi, Bekwai, Bosomtwe and Manso Nkwanta in Ashanti, Asiwa in the Eastern Region.

What was most worrying according to the Auditor-General was that the Municipal Agriculture Development Unit of the Ministry at Savelegu gave out GH¢25,401.00 as loans to farmers under the 1D1F, but unfortunately, as at December 31, 2018 when the annual auditing process was concluded, not a single farmer who benefited from the loan had paid back thereby leaving the unpaid loan to remain as GH¢25, 401.00.

The Tamale Metropolitan Agriculture Development Unit of the MoFA recovered just GH¢ 3, 842.00 out of a total of GH¢536,849.50 as loan disbursed to farmers in the area, leaving a balance of GH¢555,007.50.

Farmers at Zibila were granted GH¢328, 814.30, but the Agric Unit was able to recovered GH¢ 40,452.25 with a balance of GH¢288,362.05 outstanding.

In the Nkronza South, the MoFA  disbursed GH¢295,648.40 to farmers  during the farming season, but recovered GH¢147,824.20, leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢147.824.20 representing 50 per cent of the recovered amount.

Farmers in the Wenchi District in the Bono Region, followed suit by paying back 50 per cent of the loans granted them under the 1D1F. They were given a total of GH¢277.091.75 as loans to facilitate their farming and were able to repay GH¢138,545.88 leaving a balance of GH¢138,545.88.

 The Planting for Food and Job has been introduced by the Government to help address the declining growth of the country’s agricultural sector as a clarion call on every Ghanaian to take farming as a full time or part time activity.

 The PFJ is a five-year long policy geared towards increasing food productivity to ensure food security in the country and reduce food import bills to the barest minimum.

The Planting for Food and Jobs is also an avenue to modernise agriculture and make it a source of employment for the teeming youths.

 Beneficiary farmers are supplied free with fertilisers at subsidised prices (50 percent), free extension services to farmers and ready market opportunities for produce after harvest.

The five crops selected under the PFJ’s policy are: Maize, Rice, Soybeans, Sorghum, Vegetables-(Tomato, Onion, Chili pepper).

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