- The crux of the matter is, which entity takes delivery of the fertilizers from the national level? Who are those in charge of those entities?
Written By Alex Blege - In 2017, President Akufo-Addo together with the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto launched the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) so as to create the opportunity to boost food production for consumption and export. This initiative involves the provision of support services in the form of seeds and fertilizer to farmers. In spite of the challenges that bedeviled the farming season that year, it was reported that there was bumper harvest and the excess were exported to neighboring countries.
Unfortunately, there is one nefarious practice that seeks to undermine efforts of achieving food sufficiency and create jobs. Tons of fertilizer that were procured and subsidised for the use of farmers are finding their way to Burkina Faso as well as Togo. Every now and then, there is a media report of trucks loaded with fertilizers impounded either in Upper East or Upper West or some other part of the country. This is indeed unhealthy for the nation. Unfortunately, the only report that is carried is the impounding of the trucks; the owners of the trucks have never been identified. The owners of the fertilizers have equally not been identified. The matter as it stands does not give cause for optimism neither does it show glimmers of hope that the saboteurs will be arrested and then the illegal act stopped.
The crux of the matter is, which entity takes delivery of the fertilizers from the national level? Who are those in charge of those entities? Are they party members or executives of the ruling party? Are they individuals who are just interested in sabotaging the government so as to discredit the government? Are they public servants in the Ministry of Agriculture at the regional and district levels of the country? Where do the impounded vehicles as well as the bags of fertilizer go? There are more questions than answers. One does not need to look far to begin finding out the clues. For it is said that the vegetable eater is behind the vegetable leaves. In a media report titled, “Look within gov’t for fertilizer smugglers”, peasant farmers at a press conference called on the President to look within his government for those involved in smuggling the fertilizers that are meant for farmers.
It is more of the proverbial insect whose hiding place is in its host’s cloth. The reason most state sponsored projects have failed is that the front-line implementers have at one point in time being complicit in sabotaging the project. Officials implementing the policy should have anticipated this and devise ways of handling the act. There was at least the need to have foreseen that there would be some nation wreckers who would definitely try to be greedy. Earlier this year, it was reported that a technology will be used to reduce the smuggling of the fertilizers to Burkina Faso and Togo. We are yet to experience the impact of the said technology as the story hasn’t changed. The act is still going on with impunity. While the President and his appointees take the opportunity to sing praises of the policy of Planting for Food and Jobs, it is vital to begin to marshal some other strategies to get those behind the smuggling.
Again, it is important to note that those who are involved in the smuggling are not just any group of persons, but people who may be powerful and influential. But for their power and influence how do they get access to thousands of bags of fertilizers to smuggle. The praises of this policy have been sang so loudly but the smuggling takes the shine out of the initiative. Ghanaians want some real actions in arresting the faceless people behind the smuggling of the fertilizers meant for the nations gallant farmers.
FERTILIZER SMUGGLING UNDER THE PLANTING FOR FOOD AND JOBS INITIATIVE AND CALLS FOR REAL ACTIONS TO END THE NEFARIOUS ACT.
BY ALEX BLEGE, A FREELANCE JOURNALIST.