The Upper West (UW) Regional Police Command has impounded 54 articulated trucks suspected of smuggling 8,640 bags of fertilizer designated for the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme.
Each of the 54 trucks was loaded with 1,600 bags of the fertilizers and heading towards Tumu in the Sissala East Municipality when they were seized in Wa Monday.
The police could not, however, confirm whether the fertilizers were in the mini bags (25 kilogrammes) or maxi bags (50 kilogrammes) as was directed by Ministry of Food and Agriculture early this year.
The Ministry issued a directive that all 25 kilogramme bags of PFJs fertilizers were strictly meant for distribution to farmers in northern Ghana, while the 50 kilogrammes were meant for those in the southern sector.
According to agriculture ministry, any 50 kilogrammes bagged fertilizer with the inscription PFJs found in any part of the five regions in northern Ghana is assumed to have been smuggled and vice versa, should be confiscated.
The move was part of stringent measures instituted by government to halt widespread PFJs fertilizer smuggling that denied local farmers from accessing the manure for farming in the north.
Each of the impounded vehicles had a white paper inscriptions in black and embossed on the windscreen that read: “Ghana government project, fertilizer and seeds. Evacuation, Tumu/Tamale”.
Majority of the vehicles also had inscriptions “Global Hualage and Man Company Limited, suggesting the companies where the vehicles belong.
Inspector Gideon Ohene Boateng, the Upper West Police Public Relations Officer, told the Ghana News Agency that the police were directed by the Regional Coordinating Council to impound any vehicle transporting fertilizer to Tumu on suspicion of smuggling to Burkina Faso.
Based on the Police Intelligence and the Upper West RCC directive the vehicles were impounded to prevent fertilizer smuggling thwarting efforts by government to promote agriculture production and ensure food security.
The seized vehicles were packed on the premises of the RCC, while the police launched an investigation to ascertain whether the fertilizers were actually being smuggled or not.
“We are still investigating the matter and anyone found culpable of the law would be brought to book,” he said.
Last, month the Upper West Regional Security Council intercepted two articulator trucks with each loaded with 1,000 bags of PFJs fertilizers packaged in 50 kilogramme sacks supposed to be for the southern sector farmers.