PFJ market attests to policy’s failure

Local rice producers want tax hikes on foreign rice
Executive Director, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Dr. Charles Nyaaba
  • as peasant farmers worry over lack of adjustment to programme

The decision by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to institute a PFJ market to sell staple foodstuffs to the public is a testament to the policy’s failure, Executive Director, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Dr. Charles Nyaaba, has indicated.

He explained that the PFJ market on the premises of MoFA has failed to respond to the food security concerns of the country, especially when foods being supplied are not crops considered under the PFJ.

Dr. Nyaaba was speaking at a recent PFAG stakeholder dialogue on the state of agriculture in the country and the failure of the 2023 Budget to address the most crucial challenges facing the sector.

The association maintained that though government has spent close to GH¢3billion on the PFJ so far, these investments have unfortunately given very little returns to farmers and the general populace.

PFAG called for a review and adjustment to the PFJ in collaboration with agriculture CSOs, policy-makers and stakeholders.

Government has allocated a total of GH¢660.5million for the PFJ programme in 2023, of which GH¢53million (8.07 percent) has been earmarked for capital expenditure, with the remaining 90.3 percent allocated for goods and services which is expected to finance the subsidised seeds and fertiliser and other initiatives under the programme.

While the PFAG commends government for increased investment in the PFJ, Dr. Nyaaba called for quick release of funds for service providers, such as fertiliser importers and seed suppliers, to avoid a situation of shortage of fertiliser as experienced in 2021 and 2022.

PFAG noted that the trend in delay of funds and inputs in 2023 will have serious consequences on the sector’s development, and would further worsen the country’s food insecurity situation.

The association said its monitoring of input distribution under the PFJ has revealed deep seated problems which should be addressed in 2023.

“Our experience and monitoring of the PFJ over the past few years, have revealed deep issues including poor quality fertiliser and seeds being supplied under the programme. Also, credible companies which provide quality inputs have declined from participating in the PFJ, leading to farmers being short-changed with poor quality inputs,” Dr. Nyaaba said.

This, according to PFAG, has led to a woeful loss of value for money for the Ghanaian taxpayer as many farmers prefer to buy quality inputs at open market than buying from PFJ input suppliers.

“We called for proper evaluation of the procurement process as well as measures to ensure that quality seeds and fertiliser are supplied to farmers,” the association noted.

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