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Government computerizes fertilizer subsidy program


Government has computerized its fertilizer subsidy program for literate farmers in Ghana for the 2016 farming season. Potential beneficiaries are expected to register with the extension officers in their various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies agric departments.

The computerization according to government was to ensure that real farmers get the fertilizer and not fertilizer smugglers. In the past, government was subsidizing for neighboring countries due to the unpatriotic behavior of smugglers.
For the implementation of the program, agric extension officers have been be given mobile phones to register farmers.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna stated this when he launched $113 million U.S. Dollars Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Project (GASIP) in Tamale.

He also announced that, government has taken delivery of Brazilian farm tractors and their accessories and combines harvesters which are now at the Tema port to be clear to help farmers in this year farming season.

The GASIP program is being co-financed by Government Ghana providing $7.5 million while International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) GASIP is co-financing an amount of $71.60 million for over six years period.

Contribution of financial institutions and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) also amounted to $17.5 and 1.7 million dollars, beneficiary 4.6 million dollars bringing the total of project funding to $113.0.

Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru said GASIP was different from past projects because various value chain actors in the sector will have to submit proposals on the business they are engage in and the type of support they need from GASIP.

The Minister said government is committed to getting the agriculture sector back to its past glory in the northern region and that it was aware of the numerous challenges facing farmers and steps are being taken steps to address those challenges.

GASIP, the minister said will not have isolated and unconnected support system which does not have complementary impact on a particular value chain. It is expected to employ tools and instruments to support agribusinesses and farmer based organizations.

The National Coordinator of GASIP, Mr Roy Ayariga who presented the overview of the six year program said the major problem facing Ghanaian farmers inability to compete with their foreign counterparts was low yield and low quality.

Mr Roy told stakeholders that what GASIP wants to do is to improve the two agencies to enable farmers compete favorably with their colleagues across the globe. GASIP, he added will play a harmonization role and not coordinate as some are thinking.

When irrigated agriculture starts in the northern region, the region will ultimately hold Ghana economically Mr Roy observed.

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