Conditions for the supply of subsidized fertilizers under the government’s signature ‘Planting for food and jobs” programme has been revised due to abuse by beneficiary farmers.
The government has absorbed 50 per cent of the cost and the arrangement was for the farmer to carry the fertilizer away after making down payment of 25 per cent and the remaining 25 per cent settled when they have harvested and sold their food crops.
This has, however, not been respected as many of them simply refused to abide by the terms – dodged payment of the outstanding debt.
The programme is meant to raise food productivity and create employment opportunities.
Mr. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, acting Upper West Regional Minister, speaking at a meeting of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), in Wa, said subsidized fertilizer was no longer going to be given to farmers on credit this farming season.
They would now have to pay fully for the 50 per cent of the cost upfront before lifting the fertilizer.
He asked the Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs) to collaborate with the security agencies to stop smuggling of the fertilizers from the region into the neighbouring countries.
Everybody needed to be vigilant to expose any unscrupulous people behind the fertilizer smuggling.
He warned that offenders would be made to face the full rigours of the law, when caught.
He also reminded MDCEs to take steps to relocate people living in flood prone areas to safer grounds amid the forecast of heavy and early rains by the Metrological Services Department.
It was important to make sure that choked drains were cleared to prevent or reduce the impact of floods.
“We need to tackle the poor sanitary conditions in parts of the region to prevent sanitation-related diseases” he added.
He told the meeting that in line with the government’s coordinated programme of economic and social development policies, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) had developed a Medium Term National Development Policy Framework (2018 – 2021).
The framework titled: “An Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All” the District Planning Guidelines had been finalized by the NDPC and the RCC, and copies sent to assemblies in the region.
He, however, expressed concern about the delayed preparation of district medium-term development plans (MTDPs 2) covering the period 2018-2021 by the assemblies.
A monitoring exercise conducted by the Regional Planning and Coordinating Unit showed that none of them had completed their plan.
The Minister said only Sissala East, Lambussie, Nandom and Wa West had some draft plans and reminded them of the NDPCs call to all assemblies to complete their MTDPs before the close of next month.