President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed to farmers to help the government address the incessant smuggling of subsidised fertilisers from the country to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire.
In a meeting with the Ghana Coffee Cocoa Sheanut Farmers Association at the Jubilee House, in Accra, last Friday evening, President Akufo-Addo condemned the act and urged farmers to help the government stamp out the smuggling of fertilisers.
"We take tax payers' money to subsidise fertiliser. It is not correct that a few people, for their selfish interests, will take this which has been subsidised by the hardworking sweat of the Ghanaian farmer and go and smuggle it into Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire. It is not right".
"When we do that, we are hurting ourselves because the fertiliser subsidy it is not coming from President Akufo-Addo's personal pocket; I don't have that kind of money; it is coming from the coffers of the state."
"And then a few criminal elements, because they want to make more money, would then smuggle this across. If we are all eager and focused, we can stop it," he said.
President Akufo-Addo said he read in the news that about 50,000 bags of fertiliser had been smuggled out of the country and indicated that although that figure had not been confirmed yet, there was an urgent need to stamp out the smuggling of subsidised fertilisers.
On government's efforts to address illegal mining popularly known as 'galamsey' the President commended the farmers for their continuous support and pledged the government's unwavering commitment to address the problem.
"Some people say that because of the anti-galamsey fight, I am going to lose the next election. Well, I don't believe so. What I know is that I have a responsibility to Ghanaians today and tomorrow to make sure that galamsey is defeated.
"People are polluting our water bodies, people are devastating our landscape. If we allow them to continue, 10 years from now, we will wake up and we don't have a country anymore. We can't afford to let that happen," he said.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that the government was working closely with the Ivorian government to see how Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire, producers of 65 per cent of the world's cocoa, could get adequate value from the crop.
He said the two countries were working together to coordinate their marketing and production policies to ensure that cocoa producers got what they actually deserved in the entire value chain.
The President and the farmers discussed wide range of issues affecting their sector and promised the government's commitment to help improve the cash crop production sector through legislations and policies.