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Ghana can’t subsidise fertiliser for West Africa – President Mahama

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John MahamaPresident John Dramani Mahama has expressed concern about the smuggling of subsidised fertiliser to neighbouring countries.

This unpatriotic act, he said, was adversely affecting the country’s farmers and having a negative impact on their production capabilities.

Speaking at a cocktail in honour of this year’s national best farmers at the forecourt of the State House in Accra on Monday, President Mahama said information reaching him indicated that, “some of our fertilisers have been found far away in Cameroon. And so, it is like Ghana is subsidising fertiliser for all the farmers of West Africa, and we cannot afford to do that.”

Subsidised tractors

On subsidised tractors for farmers, the President announced that henceforth farmers who would benefit from such tractors would have to pay 70 per cent lump sum of the cost before they could take delivery.

He said until now, the government had been absorbing 30 per cent of the cost of the tractors and spreading the remaining 70 per cent of the cost for the farmers to pay in three years.

“Unfortunately, those who have received the tractors have been very reluctant to pay for them. This was supposed to be a revolving facility so that we can extend it to other farmers, but because the pioneers who received those tractors have been reluctant to pay, it is making it difficult for the government to continue to turn this project around,” he said.

Poultry Industry

Touching on the poultry industry, President Mahama announced that government had reduced the quota for poultry import by 12 per cent this year to allow the local poultry industry to grow.

“We intend to launch a major initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to support medium to large-scale poultry farmers to be able to deliver at least 30,000 metric tonnes of poultry products in the 2014 fiscal year,” he hinted.

The President reminded the selected farmers that farming was not a way of life but a business and an investment, adding that “when you invest you must be able to reap the fruits of your business.”

He expressed happiness that young people were taking to agriculture and receiving awards.

President Mahama also said the government was partnering the private sector to expand the irrigation scheme to promote all-year farming.

Awards

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kofi Humado, presented two awards; one from the FAO and the other from the Food and Agriculture Research for Africa, which the country had won, to the President.

The Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Mr Stephen Kpordzi, said the bank was proud to be associated with the National Farmers’ Day event.

He described farmers’ contribution to the growth of the bank as significant and affirmed the commitment of the ADB to provide a three-bedroom house as the first prize.

Source: Daily Graphic

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