The Bongo District Directorate of Agriculture this week took delivery of 6,040 bags of NPK fertilizer from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in readiness for the implementation of the government's "Planting for Food and Jobs" programme.
Bongo District Director of the Agriculture, Mr. Dra Edgar, who received the consignment, said his outfit was also expecting an additional consignment of maize, rice, sorghum and soya bean seeds at a later date before it would commence distribution to farmers.
According to Mr. Dra, seven articulated trucks from a fertilizer company, named AMG, brought in the consignment under the instructions of the Minister of Food and Agriculture. He revealed that so far 2,443 potential beneficiary farmers had been registered while a two-week window remained opened for a continuous registration of more farmers onto the programme. He was hopeful that if the first batch of beneficiaries made a good recovery, it would encourage government to expand the programme in the district and in other sister districts.
Bongo District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Ayinbisa Ayamga Peter, in an interview with the ISD expressed his excitement at the arrival of the fertilizer in his district, adding that it would boost the morale of farmers to go into this year's farming season with hope.
Mr. Ayinbisa allayed the fears of skeptics who hold views that the programme would fail emphasising that, "our President Nana Addo Dankwa akuffo-Addo, told the Ghanaian public that he was going to make farming very attractive and this has been exemplified in the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme as it is being rolled out now." He added that with the distribution of the subsidised fertilizer, which will cost only 27.00 Ghana Cedis per bag coupled with the supply of improved seeds, he was optimistic the programme would produce the intended results.
The DCE also noted that the enthusiasm farmers in the area showed in getting involved in the programme, was enough indication that the public had bought into the intervention. He observed that the successful implementation of the programme would bring about better yields for framers, result in quality farm produce and also increase the profits of especially the rural farmer. He disclosed that as per the briefing he received from the director of agriculture, he expected over 5,000 farmers to be registered onto the programme from across the district.
Mr. Ayinbisa however warned against any smuggling of the highly subsidised fertilizer and other farm inputs into neighbouring Togo and Burkina Faso, stressing that he had held a meeting with the district's security chiefs and instructed them to intensify surveillance at both approved and unapproved exit points in the district in order to arrest and appropriately deal with any culprits.
He also cautioned beneficiary farmers to do their best to pay back the cost of inputs to government, which could either be in cash or in kind, so that other farmers would also benefit from the programme in the coming years.
Source: ISD (Peter Atogewe Wedam)