Hikes in fertiliser price under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme in the 2022 farming season drove farmers to purchase inputs from neighboring Togo, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has revealed.
The finding is part of an assessment of last year’s PFJ policy and its impact on smallholder farmers across the country by the PFAG, and showed that PFJ fertiliser prices escalated from GH¢96 for 50 kilogramme (kg) NPK and GH¢106 for 50kg Urea in 2021 to about GH¢320 for both products in 2022 – constituting some 233 percent increase.
Speaking at a PFJ Stakeholder Validation and Budget Credibility Workshop in Accra, Executive Director-PFAG, Dr. Charles Nyaaba, said one of the critical points that led to farmers’ disinterest in the programme was the high prices slapped on subsidised fertiliser from 2021, which reached an all-time peak last year – in contrast to prices in neighboring countries.
The assessment by PFAG indicates that about 92 percent of respondents perceived the 2022 prices as being too high.
While PFAG was hoping for government intervention to normalise the situation – particularly in 2022, that did not happen.
A 28-years old farmer in Chereponi, according to the findings, shared his frustration and how they rather bought fertiliser from Togo in 2022…which was unusual.
He said: “In Togo, they have two types of fertiliser. One is expensive and the other one is not too expensive. The cedi equivalent of the less expensive one in 2022 was GH¢210/50kg and the expensive one was GH¢270/50kg. In 2022, most of us bought our fertiliser there and even bought some and sold to other farmers in Chereponi. Is the COVID-19 and Ukraine-Russian War not affecting them?”
It must be noted that Chereponi is a border town. In previous years, farmers from neighbouring Togo purchased fertiliser from Ghana – with some reported cases of smuggling the subsidised fertiliser.
The 2022 turn of events, according to the association, was therefore surprising – as to how prices could escalate beyond controllable limits in Ghana.
This is what a 43 year-old female farmer from the Telania community in the Kassena Nankana West District shared: “Why would I buy just one bag of government fertiliser for GH¢320? I need about three bags of NPK and one bag of urea for one acre. When I put the cost together, it is more than GH¢1,000; what about tractor service, agro-chemicals, labour and harvesting cost? How much do I get paid for a bag of maize? Where is government support for farmers when the price of open market fertiliser is same as the subsidised?
Dr. Nyaaba suggested that the current PFJ should be modified and a value chain approach adopted, as hinted by the sector minister.