The National Chairman of the Poultry Farmers Association, Victor Oppong Adjei has disclosed that the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) saw an increase in the production of maize but the lack of measures to prevent the product from being taken out of the country marred the gains.
He claimed that hitherto the PFJ, farmers were cultivating about 2 metric tons per hectare and after money was injected into maize production, and fertilizer subsidies, the yields went up to about 6 metric tons per hectare.
“But unfortunately, what happened was that we allowed the neighbouring countries to buy the maize from Ghana and that created the shortage. After the introduction of Planting for Foods and Jobs, the yields went up but we allowed people from Burkina, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and other neighbouring countries to buy the maize from Ghana which caused the rise up of the price and it’s not coming down but continues to go up” Oppong Adjei explained.
He blamed the government for not instituting policies or measures to consolidate the strides it made with the Planting for Food and Jobs. The open market and lack of proper regulations allowed the foreigners to even go directly to the farms to buy the maize from the farmers.
The availability of maize coupled with the high price is affecting poultry production.
The government however blames the Russian Ukraine war for the situation though the farmers claim the situation started several months before the war.
The Russian Embassy in Ghana took exception to the attribution of the current economic crisis across the globe to the Vladimir Putin-led invasion of Ukraine in February.
“However, the truth is different,” the Embassy said in a tweet on Monday.
The Chamber of Agriculture had earlier complained that prices of Fertilizer have gone up by 120 % within one year. A bag of Fertilizer now costs as much as 450 cedis per 50 kg depending on one’s location in the country. The 15% government subsidy amounts to just 52 cedis which only cushions transportation costs. The cost of ploughing has shot up due to an increase in fuel prices whereas labour cost has doubled and even farmers are struggling to get labour.
“We agree post-COVID and Russia Ukraine fight has affected prices. Even before the Ukraine problem, the government had already reduced subsidies on fertilizer. The government could have done better in solving the issue if it had been proactive.” Dr Charles Nyaaba, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana