The Upper East Regional Minister Pauline Patience Abayage, has temporally ordered the suspension of the supply of subsidized fertilizer under the government flagship programme Planting for Food and Jobs, (PFJ), to border towns in Bawku and its adjoining communities, Garu, Pusiga and Tempani, in the Upper East Region.
This was disclosed by the Regional Minister Paulina Abayage at Manga in the Binduri District, after the inauguration of the pilot Donkey Cart Transportation for smallholder rural women farmers in the area.
The suspension came at the back of the recent smuggling of huge quantity of fertilizer meant for farmers under the PFJ, to neighboring countries to the detriment of farmers and the government.
In an interview with Radio Ghana, Paulina Abayage indicated that, there is the need to put in place stringent measures in collaboration with the security services, Agricultural officers, the farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the situation is checked to reduce the pilfering of fertilizers if not completely eradicate it in those border towns.
She added that, she has had a discussion with the Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie and the suspension has been extended to some border towns in the Upper West Region.
She stated that, strong meeting will be held with the Burkinabe Minister of Food and Agriculture to help streamline the issue.
The Minister has since called for a meeting with all the fifteen (15) District Chief Executives to deliberate on it, if adequate security measures can be reached at, modalities can be put in place so that the suspension can be lifted otherwise, it remains so for now.
Paulina Abayage emphasized that, if any farmer in the affected areas is in need of fertilizer for the time being can arrange and have his or her supply from Binduri, Zebilla or Bolgatanga the Regional capital.
Regarding the two articulated track load of fertilizer impounded barely a month ago at the Paga border the Minister said she has instructed the Regional Director of MoFA to distribute the fertilizer equitably to all the Districts and Municipalities in the regions for onwards distribution to farmers within their communities and sent the report with pictures to her.
Concerning those who were involved in the fertilizer deal that was arrested, the Minister said their licenses have been revoked.
Story by Emmanuel Akayeti