Farmers in Sissala East Municipal and its environs(Sissala West District) who thronged to a distribution centre to access few subsidized fertilizer clearly depicts signs of the area acute shortage of fertilizer and thus have left many in scramble for as crops are yearning for fertilizer.
Sissala East Municipal is currently touted as the second best in terms of higher national maize yields and formerly the highest in the country as the area continue to suffer in the hands of governments since no special project has ever been rewarded for their feats.
It thus not come as a surprise when scores of farmers thronged the only distribution center by name ”ALASKA B KANTONG” who has agreed to sell fertilizer even though at a higher price of Ghc80 above the government stipulated price of Ghc 75 in the Tumu Township. Many present were women, with some having their babies strapped to their backs as the rub shoulders with their male counter parts to get just few bags of fertilizer for their ailing crops.
The scramble situation of demand exceeding supply left no option to the distributor than he selling in smaller quantities to the farmers though some farmers having many number of hectors and this put them in sorry states.
The scene was marred with confrontations as everyone struggles to get before the product get finish. It took the intervention of the Police and military detachment in the area to calm tempers and also ensures a peaceful line of marketing.
It has been reported that, government has invested over $700 million into Planting for Food and Jobs programme meant to alleviate poverty among farmers and would not allow unscrupulous few to derail or defeat the purpose of the Programme.
Government flagship programme dabbed Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) under which fertilizer was subsidized to enable poor farmers’ access the chemical for their crops seem to be riddled with hiccups as there are reports of mass smuggle of the subsidized fertilizer to neighboring countries such as Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
There have also been reports of interceptions of people attempting to smuggle this products to the detriment of the poor farmers in the Northern part of the country. Intriguing, none has been prosecuted by the law courts. Many are of the firm believed that, people loyal to the government are those predominantly involve in this menace and thus the silence of the government despite public outcry.
Many will be recall that, early in this year’s rainy or farming season that, the municipality among other 8 district were banned from having access to the subsidized fertilizer as incessant reported cases of smuggling was rife in the following districts. But it took the intervention of people within the corridors of power to overturn the ban.
When this portal spoke to one farmer in the person of yakubu from dolibizon community, he firstly bemoaned how he and o ther from far away communities have to spend the night in an open just to access fertilizer. He also in an aggrieved mood stated that, if government will continuously superintend over this wanton smuggling of subsidized fertilizer and leaving them in this mess then, they have no option than to change the party and government come 2020 election.
Another aggrieved female farmer by name madam Ayishetu, expressed her disappointment on the suffering they are going just to access fertilizer for which they all contributed to through their tax. She did also expressed worry that, if it were life they were sharing then, many of them would have dead.
A third farmer who forcefully had this portal speak to him, opined that, they will very soon take the laws into their hands and inflict instant justice on whoever is caught smuggling fertilizer since with the presence of the state security apparatus, unscrupulous people still find their way through to Burkina Faso with this product leaving them the intended beneficiaries in misery
Worrisome challenges such as deplorable roads, killer prices for farm produce, unemployment among teeming youth, inadequate infrastructure in the few institutions, and others have lingered on for far too long despite being on the map for some feats.
Many farmers are worried and hence wondering where and how to access the rest of the quantity of fertilizer needed for their ailing crops as the unpredictable nature of the rains have left them in limbo.