The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has called on farmers and Ghanaians as a whole to embrace government’s proposed E-levy transaction which was announced in the 2022 budget statement by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, last month.
According to Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Akufo-Addo administration was working assiduously to raise money enough to support farmers in the country, hence introduction of the E-levy.
However, he pointed out that the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) entrenched position on the matter is very worrying.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto made the assertion when he visited one of government’s built warehouses at Gambaga in the North East Region on his first-day visit to the region as part of his 13-day tour of the northern sector.
The warehouse contains thousands of tonnes of harvested rice for safe keeping.
Prior to the warehouse visit, Dr. Afriyie Akoto held a durbar with stakeholders and farmers in the agriculture industry of the region, where he encouraged them to support government’s policies in the sector.
These, he said, include Fertiliser Subsidy, Planting For Food and Jobs ((PFJ) among others aimed at improving farming activities in the region.
On shortage of fertiliser, he indicated that government is seriously working to address it.
“We are making arrangements to ensure that farmers in the country have fertiliser to apply to their crops,” he assured. He explained that the problem has come about because of the global fertiliser shortage, adding that this has caused increases in the price of fertliser.
He said, regrettably, Ghana does not produce fertilizer; however, he added that government has subsidised fertiliser for farmers by 50%. This facility, he said, started when government began its PFJ programme.
While admitting that there are demands for warehouses, he averred that the uncompleted ones will be worked on as quickly as possible.
The minister also paid a courtesy call on the Overlord of Mamprugu Kingdom, Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sherigu, at his Nayiri Palace.
Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sherigu thanked the minister and his directors for making time to visit his community.
He recounted how his senior brother, who is an agriculture extension officer, helped him in his farming activities.
He therefore challenged the agriculture minister to ensure that extension officers carry out the needed knowledge-transfer for farmers to improve their yields, adding that the region is one of the leading food-baskets in the country.
Speaking to journalists, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Mamprusi West, Aremeyaw Somo Lucky Basiutaly, spoke on behalf of the farmers – mainly rice farmers, and mentioned some challenges bedevilling them.
These, he mentioned, include no power at the processing centre and a lack of warehouses in the district for rice farmers.
He therefore appealed for the minister to help resolve these challenges.
From the Overlord of Mamprusi’s palace, the minister’s team visited the Presbyterian Agriculture Services at Lanbinsi Tenguri – where he interacted with women farmers and promised to support their activities.
He then took his visit to Tamanaa Rice Factory located along the Tamale Highway, where rice in its raw state is processed, packaged and sold to the final consumer or exported.