Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah, the Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, has assured farmers in the region that the government is working assiduously to make the subsidised fertilizer available.
He said the current shortage of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) fertilizer was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had affected the quantities of the input produced to meet its growing demand.
Mr Yeboah, who gave the assurance in an interaction with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa at the weekend, said he had communicated to the appropriate authority regarding the shortage and the dire need for the input in the region.
According to the minutes of a meeting between Mr Yeboah and input dealers in the Sissala East Municipality made available to the GNA in Wa, the input dealers in the area said they had paid monies to the subsidised fertilizer companies but could not access the inputs.
He added that the companies may also be facing financial challenges due to the government’s indebtedness to them, coupled with the high price of fertilizer on the world market, hence their inability to import the required quantities.
The Director said that the Sissala area was a high producer of grains with the majority of the people in the area being farmers, and said the shortage of the input could adversely affect their activities.
While recognising that fertiliser was the determiner of crop yield, Mr Yeboah said the demand for the inputs had outstripped its supply, which had led to a hike in the price, partly affected the ability of suppliers to import the inputs.
He said that had compelled the Crop Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to review the prices of the subsidised fertilizer upward to enable the suppliers to import the input.
A 25kg of NPK used to be sold at GHc48.00 but now sold at GHc53.00 while the 25kg of Urea was GHc45.00 but sold at GHc50.00.
The input dealers emphasised the need for the government to support the companies to import more fertilizers saying, “When the fertilizer is more in the system the companies will come to us with very flexible business arrangements.”
“All the challenges confronting us now are just as a result of the unavailability of the fertilizer”, the Director added.
Speaking at a recent event at Jirapa, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, said a total of 20,865.25 metric tons of the subsidised fertilizer had so far been imported into the region.
Currently, the only fertilizer available in the market were the non-subsidised ones, with some going for GHc180.00, which some farmers said was exorbitant and could not afford.