The General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union, Edward Kariwe has argued that the Government of Ghana’s decision to reduce fertilizer subsidies among others is going to lead to low food production in Ghana.
“The problem is not just about today. We have a government policy that is going to create low output in 2022. We are where we are because we have decided to be where we are,” he said on the Sunrise show on 3FM Monday, April 4.
Edward Kariwe disclosed that based on the Ministry’s own information; the Agricultural Ministry is not ready to provide even half of the fertilizers needed for food production. They are reducing the subsidy to 15 % and at the same time, the quantity that will be subsidized has been reduced too.
“Farmers will be compelled to reduce the quantity of fertilizer to be applied as well as reduce the acreage of land they cultivate, hence food shortage is imminent next year. So far as agriculture is concerned, it is what we produced last year that we are consuming now,” he said.
He added that whatever we are experiencing now is the results of last year and we are yet to see the effect of the Russia Ukraine war. “Government couldn’t pay fertilizer suppliers last year; less than 25% of the government’s debt owed suppliers were paid. Government has been owing suppliers since time immemorial.”
He said there was a fertilizer shortage last year when there was no Russia Ukraine war. There will be a shortage this year because the government does not have the money to buy the quantity needed as prices of fertilizer will also go up due to global challenges.
“Prices are just going up, it has more than doubled. The subsidy should have even gone up by now. This is the time that the prices of fertilizer are going up globally and this is the time that the subsidy is seriously needed to go up.”
The General Secretary of the farmers questioned why the Minister of Agriculture cites an example with plantain which is not part of the Planting for Food and Jobs Program and nothing is said about maize, rice, tomatoes and other staples when touting the success of the government in food production. He describes this as an attempt to mislead the people.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has told us that they have lost control over the smuggling of fertilizer when they conceded that they couldn’t arrest the donkeys that were carrying fertilizers outside the country.”