The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has assured cocoa farmers that there is enough fertilizers for the farming season although they will be sold at subsidised prices.
Explaining the rationale behind selling fertilizer at a subsidized price, the CEO said, it will minimise smuggling as well as make it easier for government to track the actual number of fertilizer bags used during the farming season. He explained further that, the fertilizer which will be on the market in June is different from other fertilizers, because it contained other special ingredients specifically made for cocoa farming.
In an interview with Fiifi Boafo on Oman Fm morning show last Tuesday, Mr Boahen Aidoo recalled that although the previous government gave out fertilizers for free, evidence has shown that the fertilizers did not get to most of the farmers.
“We realised that some of our fertilizers were smuggled to far away countries like Cameroun, Togo, La Cote d’ivoire, and other neighbouring countries”, he said, adding that “Whiles we had imported a lot of cocoa fertilizers to be distributed for free, cocoa production levels in the country was going down and investigations proved that, most of them were smuggled out of the country. We are sharing the cost with the farmers so that those who smuggle these fertilizers will gain no benefits.”
Commenting on how the targeted farmers would get their fertilizers, he said, extension officers will be deployed to measure the farm size and access the quality of the soil to know the amount of fertilizer needed for each farm. He disclosed that, there are registered outlets dotted across the country where farmers could go and purchase the required quantity of fertilizers. Government recently reduced the prices of fertilizer by fifty percent.
This, according to government, is to motivate farmers to increase crop yields and also pave way for more exports.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture revealed that the price of compound fertilizer (NPK) which was GH¢85 in 2016, is now selling at GH¢ 57.50 pesewas.
The Ministry also revealed that the price of urea is currently selling at GH¢47.50 pesewas instead of the GH¢80 it was previously been sold at.
“Organic fertilizer will be GH¢15 flat. What it means is that the 57 cedis represents 50% reduction as the subsidy amounts to 50%. The cost to the government is Ghc115 per bag of 50kg for NPK which is the most common form of fertilizer. A farmer is paying only half of it, which amounts to Ghc57.50 pesewas.” Dr.Owusu Afriyie-Akoto said.
Announcing the reduction, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto said the move was part of measures to enhance productivity in the agric sector.