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Kassena-Nankana farmers protest as PFJ fertilizer sells at unapproved price

Farmers Kassena Nankana Farmers queuing at one of the shops to buy the fertilizer

Wed, 14 Jul 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Correspondence from Eastern Region

Farmers in the Kassena-Nankana area in the Upper East Region are threatening to go on a massive demonstration against the government if the illegal sale of the subsidized Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) fertilizer in the area is not checked.

The farmers, who are scandalized by the price at which a bag of the input is being sold in Agrochemical shops in the area, are calling on the government to immediately call distributors to order and penalize all involved in what they describe as illegality.

GhanaWeb's checks in the area revealed that a bag of NPK PFJ fertilizer which has been announced by the government and the agriculture authorities to sell at GHC 48 is now being sold between GHC 55-60 in Navrongo, Paga, Sandema, and other surrounding areas.

Some of the farmers interviewed also revealed that there was a challenge in getting the fertilizer to buy even though they have information that there are some available in shops in larger quantities.

The farmers claim some of the distributors are stocking the fertilizer to later smuggle it to Burkina Faso.

Tummuriwo Akumbasia, a farmer in the area lamented the unavailability of the fertilizer in the area even though he is aware the distributors have it in large quantities in their shops.

He pleaded with the government to intervene to curb the illegality which was robbing the poor farmers of the benefit of the policy.

He said, “when you go to the shops, they say that they are not yet selling them. So, we are pleading with the government that they should do something about it, if not they (distributors) will send them to Burkina and sell.”

"When we went there (shops), we saw the fertilizer there. They are plenty even more than Navrongo. So, the government should do something about it if not we have to organize our farmers and do a demonstration against the government.”

Prior to the planting season, the government made an upward price adjustment of GH 3 from the GHC 45 it was previously sold. But even with that, distributors in the area have failed to comply.

GhanaWeb's correspondent, Senyalah Castro, reports that even with the unapproved price, distributors still demand the particulars of farmers, as is the case in buying the subsidized fertilizer, before selling to them.

The farmers told GhanaWeb's reporter that they are required to come along with their Ghana or voter ID cards when they want to purchase the fertilizer even though it is not sold at government prices.

The farmers displeased with the actions of distributors, have described them as dishonest people who are cheating the government on the blindside.

“Also, we are aware that they (distributors) have to sell it for us GHC 48 but now it’s ¢60, and before you even get it, it is very difficult. We are appealing to the government to do something about it immediately otherwise, we will go on a demonstration,” said another farmer.

A female rice farmer who pleaded anonymity said she has lost hope of cultivating rice this season as she will not be able to purchase the fertilizer at its current price.

With a 2-acre farm size, she stated that the current price was not what she planned for, adding that it would comparatively be better if she doesn’t undertake rice farming this year.

“Before the rains started, I planned to buy 10 small bags for my rice farm which was going to cost me ¢480. I managed and got that money down. But after getting that money we were told it is not going to sell at ¢48 per bag but 55 and 60.

So, tell me where am I going to get the other money from? So, for me, it is better not to farm this season at all because I don’t have the money to buy the fertilizer to reach my all my farm”.

Meanwhile, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Francis Ennor, who was contacted on the development, said the prevailing economic conditions in the country were responsible for the price inflation.

He told GhanaWeb's reporter in a telephone interview that the ¢48 price was instituted by the government last year before the planting season began without considering a lot of economic factors.

He said though the fertilizer has been subsidized for the farmers, distributors had to pay for their own transportation to their various locations and take care of other charges, which accounted for the increase in prices.

He however condemned distributors who are selling it outside the ¢55 brackets and assured to investigate the development. He dismissed claims by the farmers that distributors were stocking the fertilizers in their shops, stating, the distributors face a lot of difficulties to supply the fertilizer.

Mr. Ennor urged the public to give out information of distributors who are keeping the PFJ fertilizers in shops to the agriculture departments for the necessary actions to be taken against such people.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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