Agric Ministry to introduce new input credit system for farmers under PFJ
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is set to introduce a new programme to boost food production in the country as the government moves to ensure food security for the next five years.
The new programme, the Input Credit System, is set to commence in June this year pending the approval of Cabinet and will provide critical support to farmers in agricultural inputs under the Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs.
The Agriculture Minister, Minister Bryan Acheampong disclosed this in Tema last Friday at the launch of the Sustain Africa Initiative, a crisis response and resilience initiative to improve availability, affordability, and effective and sustainable use of fertilizers in Africa.
The Initiative was founded by Rabobank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), International Fertilizer Association (IFA), and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
According to the minister, the government remains committed to ensuring that it delivered optimum results in the agric sector so it was targeting all farmers although the programme will be rolled out from large-scale farmers down to multi crop mixed farmers.
“In the end, we want farmers and farming to be organized so that they can have the desired relevance in the food security inventory,” he added.
He indicated that the new system would reduce the production cost borne by farmers by about 85 percent, with a total of about 3.5million farmers in the country ultimately expected to benefit from the programme.
Mr Acheampong explained that with the new programme, the government was moving away from the current subsidy programme, which only catered for 15 percent of the production cost of farmers.
“Prices of inputs and machinery contribute about 85 percent of the cost of production for a farmer. The previous subsidy programme we had was taking care of only 15 percent of that cost of production,” he noted.
He indicated that one of the key goals of the programme was to lower the entry barrier into agriculture to enable more people, particularly, the youth to go into agriculture.
The minister added that the new system would also allow farmers to get the fertilizers they want at more affordable prices.
Mr. Acheampong, who is also the MP for Abetifi in the Eastern Region, indicated that the ministry had identified 10 crops and poultry for the country’s food security strategy, and each of them had its strategy, targets and plan under the programme.
“With the new programme we are going to facilitate ETG (one of the partners of the Sustain Africa Initiative) to provide fertilizers and seeds to farmers and get paid after the planting season. The crops will be traded at the Ghana Commodity Exchange and delays in payments will be a thing of the past,” he stated.
Providing some projections, the minister indicated that prices of inputs and fertilizers such as Ammonia and NPK (23:10:5) would record significant decreases of about 30 to 50 percent once the programme is rolled out, and that would help farmers save money and increase production.
He appealed to all fertilizer producers, suppliers and partners in the country to emulate ETG and reduce the prices of their fertilizers; “we know the dollars is coming down, the production sources are stable, let us bring the prices of fertilizers down so that farmers can benefit and prices will be cheap and stable for our food security, food resilience and food availability.
The minister expressed appreciation to ETG for its support to the agric sector in the country.