The Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition, GTLC, has observed with concern the recent shortage of subsidized fertiliser as well as increasing media reportage on cases of smuggling of the product in the Upper West Region and some parts of the country.
The Coalition has in the recent past made policy proposals to government on the need to revise its model of fertiliser subsidy.
In a statement, the Coalition re-stated its position and call on government to reconsider the current model in the coming years.
GTLC noted with concern the mismatch between the supplied subsidized fertilizer and the required quantities needed by farmers. It stated that small holder farmers consist of more than 80 percent of food crop farmers, and current quantities of subsidised fertiliser falls short of demand.
In 2017, the GTLC Agro Policy Performance Barometer report estimated that only 18 percent of the needed fertiliser was supplied under the subsidy. The Coalition said with or without smuggling, the subsidised fertiliser is not enough to reach all farmers.
The whole idea of supplying fertiliser as a way of increasing farmer yields is overstated. It said fertiliser is just one of the numerous inputs that is required to ensure increased yields, but there appears to be an over concentration on fertilizer as a key issue in increasing the yields of farmers.
The GTLC stated that when fertiliser subsidy is well combined with other support services like extension advice, timely land preparation and the availability of water, then it can produce some positive results.
It suggested that if government is really committed to supporting farmers, then it should rather channel resources of the subsidy to create a fund that can ensure that farmers have cheaper source of credit. This could help them access all the inputs they need including fertiliser at the right time and in the right quantities as they desire from the open market.
The GTLC asked government to ensure that the agriculture census is completed to enable targeting of farmers in the acquisition of credit at lower cost.