Government is to engage peasant farmers in some seven regions where the default rate in repaying loans – in the form of farming inputs – under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme is high, and develop a flexible payment plan, according to George Oduro, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture.
An estimated GH₵414,141 worth of inputs and other services supplied to farmers, out of a total GH₵1,106,865 invested in the programme, is yet to be repaid by beneficiaries.
The high defaulting areas include: Gomoa West, Gomoa East, Sisala West and Tamale Central, among others.
“We have the data for all the farmers, and so what we have decided to do is to engage them in groups and give them a payment plan and find out how much each farmer is owing. They will then go by the payment plan and pay by installment. I think that will bring flexibility for them to pay the outstanding amount,” Mr. Oduro said.
He spoke to the B&FT shortly after appearing before the Public Accounts Committee hearing at Parliament House in Accra.
He further added that they intend to advise and sensitise farmers that the input support will help them increase their yield, so the more they pay the more they get and increase their yield – which will increase their income.
District Agric Directorate moves back to MoFA
Mr. Oduro disclosed that the Ministry will be deliberating on moving the regional and district directors of agriculture from the local government ministry back to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
“It was a government policy by the previous administration. They changed the regional and district directors, but when we came and went around, we realised they clearly now use composite budget. So, when agric directors make their budgets and give them to local government, they told us was the attention given to them was not satisfactory so they could not perform very well,” he said.
“So, now we will try our best and haul them back to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture; that will make things easier and simple,” he added.