The Minister for Food and Agriculture has accused former President John Mahama’s brother of scrounging government subsidised fertilisers targeted at smallholder farmers in the country.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said that Mr Ibrahim Mahama is a commercial farmer, cultivating 300 acres and does not qualify to benefit from the fertiliser meant for the poor farmers.
Speaking to Evans Mensah on JoyNews’ PM Express Wednesday, the Agric Minister believes the former President’s brother should be able to raise funds to purchase fertiliser for his farm.
“The subsidies are meant for farmers with 2, 3 acres which is the bulk of smallholders and not for 300 acres for goodness sake. So he has actually scrounged on poor farmers to start with if he was able to do 300 acres with subsidised fertiliser. So what Mr Mahama is saying cannot be true. In any case, we are talking about millions and millions of farmers. For him to make that conclusion from one observation, it means that when it comes to statistics he has absolutely no clue,” he said.
Dr Afriyie Akoto made these comments in rebuttal to claims made by Mr John Mahama that Ghana is likely to experience food shortage in 2022 if the government does not put more funds into its Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
While justifying his assertion that the PFJ programme is a failure, the former President stated that many farmers including his own brother are yet to receive fertilisers promised by the Akufo-Addo government.
“My brother is a farmer and he tells me this year, he has not received any fertiliser supply from the government and so he bought his own fertiliser and a bag of fertiliser is very expensive. Normally, he cultivates 300 acres of maize each year. But this year, he had to reduce it, he was not able to cultivate even 80 acres. So there’s a possibility of food shortage next year because the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme has failed,” the former President explained.
Persons within Ghana’s food production value chain are warning of looming food shortage if measures are not immediately taken to resolve the unavailability of fertilizer in the country by the end of the year.
But the Sector Minister vehemently rejected the claims describing them as statistically inaccurate.
He insisted that the programme has been largely successful despite the government’s inability to meet the projected demand for subsidised fertilisers for the PFJ programme.
The Food and Agriculture Minister admitted to challenges with the supply of fertiliser to farmers to boost agricultural production.
He, however, refuted claims it will result in food shortage in the following year.