…Says ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project is a fiasco
Mr. Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, a former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, has described the NPP government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative as a fiasco and the assertion by the current Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, that the programme will get started in the Northern Region using the communities along the banks of the White Volta River as very misleading.
The government last month launched one of its flagship job creation projects called ‘Plant for Food and Jobs’ at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The project, which is aimed at increasing the agricultural yield and creating jobs, has an amount of GH₵560 million set aside for it, and it is also expected to help increase fertilizer supply by cutting down cost and making it affordable for the farmers.
The initiative is also targeted at creating over 750,000 direct jobs for Ghanaians who will be actively involved in the pilot phase of the project this year and who are expected to, thereafter, spearhead the government’s agricultural modernization policy for the next five years.
But in an interview with this paper last Friday, the former Member of Parliament for the Nantong in the Northern Region maintained that the government has not been truthful to the good people of Ghana especially when it comes to the disbursements of funds associated with the project.
In the area of fertilizer subsidization with funds set aside for the project, he revealed that no amount for the fund can be used to pay for fertilizers under the project.
“It’s a complete fiasco, it’s completely misleading you cannot use that money for certain things, you can use them to pay fertilizers. And you remember that His Excellency the President talked about the fact that they have subsidized fertilizer by 50 %, mind you the NDC government subsidized tractors by 60%. I engage in agriculture and I do know that if someone doesn’t even have money to plow you can’t think of farming, let alone plow,” he said.
Mr. Murtala Mohammed also expressed concern over the arrangements between the Ministry of Food Agriculture and dealers in fertilizers in the country.
He described the move, whereby private entities that deal in fertilizers are told to sell their products at a subsidized rate to farmers and later submit receipts to the government through the Agric Ministry for reimbursement, as very dangerous, stressing that government would be robbed as a result of the current arrangement.
“And by the way, the fertilizer is not produced by the state, private entities, who bring in the fertilizers are being told that you sell the fertilizer at the subsidized price and bring the receipts to the government through the Ministry of Agric for you to be reimbursed. I see this to be a very dangerous thing, government is going to be robbed because the way fertilizers are sold in the farming communities they don’t give them receipts, they just sell them and people will come to buy. So what it means is that they are still selling the fertilizers at an exorbitant price because they are not checked but they will find receipts to governments,” he reiterated.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Nana Appiah Acquaye