150,000 farmers to benefit from subsidised inputs

Some 150,000 farmers are to benefit from agricultural inputs subsidy and extension services under the Sustained Africa initiative, an Agriculture Emergency Response Collaborative Platform for Africa. The package will include the distribution of 15,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, 5,000 seed packs and biostimulants as well as 30,000 metric tonnes of cereals. The initiative is being spearheaded by the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness in collaboration with Export Trading Group (ETG) Agri-Inputs and other firms. The goal of the project is to contribute to the sustenance of the fertilizer value chain through an emergency response that involves stimulating the trade of local cost-effective fertilizer to support food security. Mr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, speaking at the launch of the initiative, said it was in line with government's plan to match food consumption, export and industrial requirements. Part of the plan, he explained, would see a shift from the traditional government fertilizer subsidy programme to a regime where the private sector would be facilitated to support farmers with input credit. 'This will take away the burden of farmers looking for inputs like seeds and fertilizer as well as the cost of machinery. It will reduce the cost to about 85 per cent for farmers,' he said. While commending the ETG and its partners, he appealed to them to increase the number of beneficiaries from five per cent of farmers nationwide to 10 per cent. He said through the programme, farmers would be able to buy fertilizers at a discount price of GHS 215 instead of regular market rate of GHS 300 and GHS 400. Mr Fred Akowuah, Country Director, ETG Agri-Inputs, stated that the Sustained African initiative aimed at revolutionising the fertilizer value chain by linking farmers to relevant actors, and equipping them with improved agricultural practices. The approach of the initiative, he said, was to ensure that farmers had access to fertilizers, seeds and other inputs at the right place, time and the needed quantities. 'We want to demonstrate live the last mile approach. In pursuant to this, 50 new ETG depots are being built,' he said. Nana-Aisha Mohammed, Regional Manager of West Africa, Sustain Africa, said the initiative had a special package for 5,000 youth in the sector. She said the Extension Service Division and the Plant Protection Regulatory and Service Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture would deliver the technology transfer and quality of inputs component of the programme.

Source: Ghana News Agency