Farmers are to benefit from a GH¢90 million subsidy on fertiliser and seeds this year, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Fifi Kwetey, has said.
At the 2015 Fertiliser and Seed Subsidy Programme in Accra last Monday, Mr Kwetey said the subsidy would target smallholder farmers cultivating maize, rice, sorghum and millet, emphasising that food crop farmers would be given the priority.
Currently, the government is subsidising fertiliser at about 21 per cent.
Agriculture is Ghana’s most important economic sector, employing more than half the population on a formal and informal basis and accounting for almost half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and export earnings.
The country produces a variety of crops in various climatic zones which range from dry savanna to wet forest and which run in east-west bands across the country.
Agricultural crops such as yam, grains, cocoa, oil palm, kola nuts and timber form the base of the country’s economy.
Mr Kwetey also said in line with the government’s policy of reviving the cotton industry, cotton farmers operating under recognised nuclear groups in the north would also benefit from the subsidy.
He expressed optimism that the subsidy would go a long way to boost the operations of the cotton farmers and increase crop production.
Mr Kwetey said in spite of the challenges associated with the running of the subsidy, the programme had contributed to increased crop production and helped to ensure food security within the last six years.
“Since the introduction of the subsidy programme, the average rate of fertiliser application has increased from eight kilogramm per hectare in 2008 to 12kg in 2013,” he said.
According to him, available data also indicated that the average yield of the major crops had increased since the commencement of the subsidy programme, due to the increased use of fertiliser.
By: Dominic Moses Awiah
Date: Wednesday, 01 April 2015