Audit Subsidised Fertilizer Policy – CDA Tells Government

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A Civil Society Organisation, Community Development Alliance (CDA)-Ghana, has charged government to conduct a thorough audit into the subsidized fertilizer programme introduced in 2017 due to suspected fraught with widespread irregularities and corruption.
The Executive Director of CDA-Ghana, Salifu Issifu Kanton, stated this during a Breakfast Meeting with the media in Wa to present a Baseline Assessment of Government of Ghana Fertilizer subsidy programmme in the Sissala West and Lambussie districts for the 2017 farming season.
He said a research report and a baseline study in the two districts conducted by the organization uncovered mass fraud and smuggling of subsidized fertiliser for local farmers during last years farming season.
Mr. Kanton said the governments subsidized fertilizer programme was welcoming but confronted with serious challenges in its implementation and called for an immediate review.
He noted that the country could make progress if CSOs and the media engaged the government in a constructive feedback basis on how its policies were being implemented and its impact on Ghanaians to ensure that those policies achieved their intended purpose.
He there fore urged the media to influence and hold government accountable to deliver on its promises to benefit the Ghanaian tax payer.
Mr Kanton added that agriculture subsidy programmes were not new in the country due to inconsistencies and resource constraints by various governments to sustain the fertilizer subsidy programme.
He identified attempts by successive governments including former president Kufoour, Presidents Mills and Mahama led administrations to implement the policy but failed to yield the desired impact on productivity and income of smallholder farmers.
The Programmes Manager of CDA-Ghana, Sulemani Bipuah, who presented the highlights of the report, said the study was aimed to identify successes, challenges and to make recommendations to government.
Mr Bipuah added that it sought to determine whether the programme had increased access as well as boost the production of food crops by smallholder farmers.
He said the study revealed no statistically significant differences among beneficiary farmers and non-beneficiaries on the application of NPK fertilizer and ammonium sulphate in the two districts.
Mr Bipuah said all participants unanimously agreed to the existence of smuggling activities in the two districts under the study whiles government officials such as the District Chief Executives and Ministry of Food and Agriculture officials perceived the smuggling activities not to be widespread.
He therefore recommended the institution of a “GIS system to map farms with beneficiaries”, prosecution of smugglers of the subsidised fertilizer, decentralisation of the programme among others as effective ways covering the loopholes in the programme implementation.
The Upper West Regional Cordinator of USAID Advance, an agriculture nongovernmental organization, Charles Yaro, said his outfit would continue to partner with CSOs in the region to provide and improve the agricultural sector to help reduce poverty.
Evidence from the study available to the Media shows that there had been an increase in the use of fertilizer following the introduction of the programme in 2017 resulting in the marginal rise in yields and incomes but many anomalies persisted.
The study revealed fertilizer smuggling into neighbouring Burkina Faso was endemic in the areas where the study was carried.
It is therefore incumbent on government to ensure adequate storage facilities and centralization of the subsidized fertilizers coupled with adequate extension officers to curb and block avenues for irregularities of the fertilizer subsidy programme.

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