To Cocoa Farmers Now
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has replaced the free fertilizer programme by the erstwhile Mahama administration with a subsidized programme, the administration has announced.
According to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), there is over 53 percent reduction in the prices of the product to cocoa farmers in regions where the cash crop is grown.
The Board, started selling the fertilizers to the cocoa farmers soon after the change of government amidst concerns of protest. This forced the management to review the situation, but with the price change calling it subsidy.
Mr. Noah Amenya, explained that previously, the average purchase price per bag of granular fertilizer was GH¢171.75, while a litre of Liquid fertilizer was GH¢105.00.
The new policy directive according to the management of COCOBOD led by Joseph Boahen Aidoo, is aimed at enhancing access to cocoa fertilizers to improve yield and incomes of cocoa farmers.
Until the Akufo-Addo government, the Mahama government, initiated the free fertilizer programme, but it was alleged that some recalcitrant and corrupt officers within the sector, denied the cocoa farmers the product leading to reduction in cocoa production in the country.
Some of these officers, who hoarded the free products, including insecticide, spraying machines and wellington boots, later sold them to the farmers at great profit and pocket the proceeds.
Some of these officers also abused the system so much by smuggling the product to neighboring countries which have a high price for it.
This made the issue in the cocoa growing areas, a campaign agenda in 2016 with the then NPP candidate, Nana Addo, promising to scrap the policy and replace it with the subsidized programme.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Public Relations Manager at COCOBOD explained that “a bag of the granular fertilizer is now being offered to cocoa farmers at GH¢ 80.00, while a litre of the Liquid fertilizer is GH¢20.00, representing subsidies of 53.4% and 81.03%respectively”.
Mr. Noah Amenya, said that previously, the average purchase price per bag of granular fertilizer was GH¢171.75, while a litre of Liquid fertilizer was GH¢105.00.
Per the directive, COCOBOD, has urged all cocoa farmers to insist on buying the fertilizers at the subsidized price from Cocoa Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), Cocoa Inputs Companies, Offices of Cocoa Farmers’ Associations and Private Inputs Distributors across the country.
The management of COCOBOD, urged all cocoa farmers to seize the opportunity to apply only approved fertilizers on their farms at the right time for maximum impact.
Outlining measures put in place to avert smuggling of the fertilizer, Mr. Amenya, stated that COCOBOD has reliable records of all the farmers and how much fertilizer is required by them.
“We have registered all the farmers on our system up to date. The COCOBOD and extension officers know who exactly the farmers are and we know their farm sizes, and we will be able to determine how many bags of fertilizer will be required.
So once you get to a place to buy, the database is there and will be able to know whether you are buying it for your farm or you want to smuggle it,” he assured.
On output, Mr. Amenya, was optimistic the initiative will boost cocoa production, since the cost of production will come down, encouraging farmers to produce more.