Some international developments organisations have hailed government’s introduction of a bar code system on subsidised fertilisers in the country.
According to them, this new system will cut down on corruption and improve farm productivity and the economy at large, which will have a ripple-effect on food security and currency stability through import substitution.
The Ministry of Agriculture, (MoFA), has been highly commended introducing its bar code system as a move to deepen accountability and also reduce misappropriation of the nation’s resources.
MoFA has been the base of industrialisation in the country, which should be supported by government to achieve desired results for the country.
Agriculture experts say MoFA and Planting for Food and Jobs should be the critical focus for government, since it promotes affordable food for children under the free SHS; is a good source of raw material for the One District One Factory programme; and also supports the country’s balance of payments through import substitution.
If the expected support from government comes, it means the country would record another food surplus as happened last year.
MoFA introduced the new electronic coding and traceability in a bid to monitor government’s fertiliser subsidy programme and farming inputs.
The new service requires that every farmer who wants to benefit from the subsidy has to be biometrically registered, and only farmers who have already registered can have access to purchase the fertiliser.
Before any purchase is made, an agent at the retail shop will take the farmer’s fingerprint and match it with the code on the bag of fertiliser.
The code identifies region, district zone, fertiliser type, source, distributor and details of the retailer. It will be able to track all fertiliser bags and inputs from supplier all the way to end-user – which is the farmer.
The new technology is expected to eliminate fertiliser smuggling in the country, as subsidised fertilisers will now have a special code – like the tax stamp introduced by the Ghana Revenue Authority.
This traceability technique is the most affordable off-net and real-time technology to improve the service and deliver a value for money platform. Retailers will be given a set of scannable codes to label their inputs based on quantity of allocation.
This new, highly-efficiency and traceable fertiliser subsidy management system is to ensure that farmers who have registered biometrically benefit from the fertiliser subsidy by government.
MoFA is currently deploying about 2,600 agents to all fertiliser retail shops in the country to register farmers biometrically.