Fertiliser Subsidy Unchanged

Government has targetted subsidising 176,000 metric tonnes of granular and liquid fertiliser at a cost of GH�120.3million, and 151,000 metric tonnes of certified seed at the cost of GH�4.8million, all totalling GH�124.1million. Consequently, it has through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, on Monday, announced the selling price of various types of fertilisers and seeds (which include seeds for maize, rice and soyabean) for the 2012 farming season, which took effect from Monday, June 4, 2012. The price for Compound fertiliser (all types) is GH�39.00 per 50 kilogrammes, Urea is GH�38.00 per 50 kilogrammes and Sulphate of Ammonia is GH�35.00 per 50 kilogrammes. The seed prices are GH�45.00 per 45 kilogrammes of maize; GH�35.00 per 50 kilogrammes of rice; and GH�45.00 per 45 kilogrammes of soyabean. The subsidies will give farmers a saving of over 43 percent per bag of fertiliser Announcing this at a news conference in Accra, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said Government is subsidising fertilisers at an average of 43.3 percent and seeds at an average of 36.6 percent. He said though this year�s fertiliser target is almost the same as what was supplied last year, the subsidy component accruing to Government amounted to GH�79 million in 2011 adding that increasing world market prices for fertiliser accounted for the situation. Mr. Ahwoi said: �This shows a lot of courage and commitment on the part of Government in committing such a colossal amount of money to the programme. But we do it because we are committed to increasing agricultural productivity and ensuring food security for our people.� He said farmers input distributors and other stakeholders were expected to co-operate to ensure that farm inputs were not smuggled to neighbouring countries. Mr. Ahwoi said that Government�s subsidy will not be sustained, and advised farmers to adopt good agricultural practices to attain maximum yield to �Absorb the government's portion of the cost of the inputs with time�. However, Ahwoi said farmers should prepare for the as-yet unspecified day when government is forced to cut subsidies. "Let me say that government cannot subsidise farm inputs forever, so farmers should embrace and adopt all the good agricultural practices being disseminated to them by our technical people," he said. He announced that Yara Ghana Limited, Chemico Limited, Olam Ghana Limited and Afcott Ghana Limited were appointed to roll-out the subsidy programme. �The fertiliser companies participating in the subsidy programme will be allocated quotas of various fertiliser types,� and they will continue to �Import, clear the fertiliser from the ports, pay all charges and deliver allocated quantities to the regions and districts for sale to farmers by their registered sales agents.� He said the various regions will be allocated quotas of the various types of fertilisers based on historical consumption and projections. Mr. Ahwoi appealed to the Regional, Municipal and District administrations to assist in monitoring the sale and distribution of the inputs in their jurisdictions to avoid abuse. He called on farmers to report any dealer that sells the subsidised inputs above the announced prices to any official at the Ministry or to the nearest security agency for appropriate action. Mr. Ahwoi said government�s decision to include seeds in the subsidy is because a viable and quality seed of genetic purity at planting time is crucial for the attainment of high agricultural productivity. �Seeds are the basis for realising the potential of other factors of production such as fertilisder, pesticides, irrigation and overall crop management,� he said.