Nine Municipal and District Assemblies have incurred the wrath of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, for engaging in the retail haulage and distribution of the Government’s subsidized fertilizers under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
Due to their activities, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has with immediate effect suspended all the Municipal and District assembles involved in such activities, all of which are located in the four northern regions.
To this end, the ministry has directed all companies contracted to supply the inputs to beneficiary farmers in the affected districts to cease forthwith, from dealing with the various retail outlets and deal directly with the respective Municipal and District Directorates of Agriculture.
The ban, according to the Ministry, has been necessitated by constant reports of infractions, misappropriations and alleged smuggling of subsidized fertilizers to neighbouring countries, while all fertilizer dealers and suppliers under the PFJ programme have been subsequently informed the Ministry.
Announcing the decision, the sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto stated that,”We have therefore informed all our suppliers to liaise with the respected assemblies to implement the directives without delay.”
Henceforth, all beneficiary farmers are expected to pick their inputs directly from the District Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and not from retailers designated by the supplying companies.
The affected districts are Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Garu District, Pusiga and Tempane Districts in the Upper East Region, Chereponi in the Northern Region and Saboba District in the North East Region. The rest are Sissala East and West Districts of the Upper West Region.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto further stated that, all persons arrested in connection with the alleged smuggling and misappropriation of the inputs under the program are being investigated and will be arraigned before the court once investigations are concluded.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has made clarification on reports of indefinite suspension of one of the suppliers by name Demeter, following breaches of the modalities in the supply and distribution of the inputs.
It noted that, the action of the company only amounted to breaches of the rules and regulations governing the implementation of the program.
Per the modalities, waybill covering all fertilizers being moved from one place to another must be verified and approved by the Regional Minister and the MMDCEs.
However, in the case of the said consignments, the management of Demeter Ghana Limited failed to comply with this modality though there are no evidence of attempted smuggling.