In recent times fertilizer smuggling has become the order of the day as the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat reported that the country lost a whopping GHS120 million from unaccounted for fertilizer, diversion of coupons and fertilizer smuggling in the 2017 and 2018 planting seasons alone.
Presenting the mid-year budget review on Thursday, July 29, 2021, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said the move will help sanitize the fertilizer space using the Ghana CARES programme.
“Mr. Speaker, Ghana CARES is providing catalytic support to drive efficiency and improve outputs in the agricultural sector by investing in data and digital technology. These technologies would revolutionise the targeting of inputs such as seed inputs, extension services and acquisition of land for commercial farming.”
“Additionally, the program would support the reform of the fertilizer subsidy system using digital technology, to make it more efficient and less prone to smuggling. This would be achieved by registering farmers for improved targeting. The registration will provide information on farmers’ bio data, crops cultivated, acreage, digital location of farms to track seed and fertilizer subsidy programme. By the end of February 2022, 1.2 million farmers will be registered,” he said.
Ofori-Atta said government is also putting measures to boost agric production in Ghana.
“Mr. Speaker, to modernise our agriculture sector, we are investing in initiatives that will improve production and productivity in the rice, poultry, soybean, and tomato sub-sectors this year. The recent engagement with all the value-chain actors in these sub-sectors has sharpened the focus of investments in a holistic manner.”
“We are therefore providing interest rate subsidies, facilitating equipment acquisition, linking markets and producers as well as promoting relevant research in these sub-sectors. The youth are being supported this year to become out growers for anchor farmers and boost their participation in commercial farming,” the Finance Minister said.
Also, the government as part of its industrialization agenda for the sector has also revealed that a cassava processing plant will be established among other things.
“Specific interventions include support for the establishment of a cassava processing plant, provision of technical assistance to the garment and textile as well as the pharmaceutical industries.”