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Seed suppliers threaten to hit the streets if debt is not cleared

Farmers Seeds NASTAG warns of possible strike action

Thu, 12 Aug 2021 Source: thebftonline.com

The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), the main supplier of seed inputs to the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), has warned that its members may soon be forced to hit the streets to demand payment for seeds supplied under the programme.

According to the association, its members, made up of seven major groups are owed over GH¢7 million, a situation that has compelled their operations to almost grind to a halt. The members say all efforts to get their monies from the Ministry of Agriculture since the beginning of the year has not materialized due to lack of funds.

The association says it is unable to calm down its members, most of whom are agitated and ready to demonstrate for their funds. “If we don’t get the payment by Friday, it will create a lot of problems for our people. Our members want to go on a demonstration, but we have restrained them from doing so,” CEO of NASTAG, Augusta Nyamadi Clottey told the B&FT.

She stated that the challenge has also resulted in an inadequate supply of fertilizer to the seed growers since the government still owes fertilizer suppliers in the country.

“People have already reduced their acreages of production since they don’t have money to buy the goods to produce the seeds,” she lamented adding that yields and productivity in the future are on the line.

Nyamadi Clottey expressed worry that the authorities in charge are not seeing the repercussions of the current situation on food production in the future—hence are indifferent.

She stated for example that the smallholder farmers and peasant farmers across the country have missed part of the timelines for planting ahead of the rainy season. This, she said, will adversely impact on food production since certain food crops are seasonal and so require the seeds at a particular time of the year.

Describing the situation as a terrible one, Ms. Clottey said the rippling effect could occur in high cost of certain basic staple food in the near future.

She appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to urgently engage the relevant government institutions responsible for clearing the debt to do so in the shortest possible time. “They have promised us that the processes are ongoing, but we don’t know if it will fail again,” she said.

The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) is an amalgamation of all the value chain actors in the seed industry which culminated from a resolution passed by stakeholders in a meeting sponsored by the USAID.

The association has members such as the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, and the Seed Producers Association of Ghana as well as 60 seed producing companies in the country.

Source: thebftonline.com
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