Bolgatanga — About 4,000 bags of smuggled subsidised fertiliser meant for the government's flagship programme of Planting For Food and Job (PFJs), have been impounded by the security agencies at the Paga border, in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region.
The impounded fertilisers which were in 25kg bags and were loaded in two articulator trucks with the registration numbers GT 3181J and AS7300V, respectively were being smuggled across the Paga border to neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Whilst the fertilisers had been confiscated and in the custody of the Regional Coordinating Council and the Regional Directorate of Agriculture, the two drivers of the vehicles who were arrested by the Police had also been tasked to provide the consigners of the fertilisers.
Briefing the Ghanaian Times in her office on Monday, the Regional Minister, Ms Paulina PatienceAbayage, who is also the Head of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), commended the security agencies for the arrest and stated that the confiscated fertilisers would be distributed to farmers in the region at subsidised prices.
The Regional Minister who expressed worry about the trend, said the government cannot continue to spend hard earned currencies to procure fertilisers for the poor farmers only for the commodities to be smuggled to the neighbouring countries.
She indicated that last year similar arrests were made and stated that those culprits were currently being investigated by the Economic and Organised Crime (EOCO) and warned those who would want to use the border towns in the region as transits for smuggling the fertilisers across the neighbouring countries to desist from that or risked being prosecuted.
The Regional Minister who entreated the general public to be very vigilant and to assist by volunteering information about fertiliser smuggling to the security agencies for the appropriate actions, said the impounded fertilisers were meant for farmers in Navrongo, as shown by the invoices accompanying the impounded vehicles.
She said the consigners of the fertilisers flouted all the rules and procedures which demanded that before the commodity could arrive at a destination point to be distributed to farmers, it must be approved by the Regional Minister, the Regional Director of Agriculture, District Chief Executive and the District Director of Agriculture.
Ms Abayage, however, stated that the Regional Coordinating Council had reported the matter to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, for further directive and sanctions for the culprits.
The Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Francis Ennor, called on all the Municipal and District Directors of the 15 Municipal and District Assemblies to double up their activities by collaborating with other stakeholders to help confront the problem.