The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is to launch a new initiative to enhance food production in the country and ensure food security for the next five years.
The new programme, the Input Credit System, is expected to begin in June this year, pending Cabinet approval and would help farmers with agricultural inputs under the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
The initiative is a collaboration between Sustain Africa, ETG, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong, disclosed this in Tema last Friday at the opening of Sustain Africa, a disaster response and resilience effort to increase fertilizer availability, affordability and effective and sustainable usage in Africa.
He noted that the government was still dedicated to delivering the best possible results in the agricultural sector, saying: “In the end, we want farmers and farming to be organized so that they can have the desired relevance in the food security inventory.”
He stated that the new method would lower farmers’ production costs by nearly 85 per cent, projected to help approximately 3.5 million farmers in the country.
Dr Acheampong noted that the new scheme was a departure from the government’s previous subsidy programme, which only covered 15% of farmers’ output costs.
“Input and machinery prices contribute approximately 85 per cent of a farmer’s cost of production. The previous subsidy programme we had covered only 15% of the cost of production,” he added.
He explained that one of the programme’s aims was to decrease the entrance barrier into agriculture so that more people, particularly the young, could enter the agricultural sector.
He said the new approach would also allow farmers to acquire fertilizer at lower pricing.
According to the minister, 10 crops and poultry have been identified for the country’s food security strategy and each has its strategy, objectives and plan.
“With the new programme, we will make it easier for ETG (one of the Sustain Africa Initiative’s partners) to provide fertilizer and seeds to farmers and be paid after the planting season. The crops will be traded on the Ghana Commodity Exchange and payment delays will become a thing of the past,” he said.
He projected considerable price drops for inputs and fertilizers like ammonia and NPK (23:10:5) of between 30 and 50 per cent if the initiative is implemented, which would help farmers save money and enhance productivity.
He urged fertilizer producers, suppliers, and partners in the country to follow ETG’s lead and lower fertilizer prices.
Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD