Ghana is simply an agarian-based economy and no wonder over 60% of the working force still depends on Agriculture as the source of employment and livelihood. Regrettably, according to data gathered from Ghana Statistical Service (2010-2020), the share of the 3 key sectors of the economy to the overall GDP shows Agriculture performing poorly. Agriculture recorded 18.24%, Industry & Manufacturing recorded 34.69% and the Service sector contributed a whooping 42.63%. This clearly shows a dividend mismatch. Many would have thought that the sector with the greatest population will record the greatest share to the overall GDP.
Fast forward, the success of a sustainable Agriculture is based on available and efficient use of Fertilizers and Agrochemicals. Ghana has within the past 10years has operated two fertilizer supply regime to Farmers;
- No cost basis regime
- Subsidy regime.
The No cost basis regime had the Government of Ghana absorbing 100% cost of distributable fertilizers to meritorious farmers. On the other hand, the subsidy regime had the Government of Ghana introducing cost-sharing in all distributable fertilizers to meritorious farmers.
These two regimes have had their own challenges but anybody who believes and asserts that Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy will affirm that “the no cost basis regime” was much beneficial and impactful in the activities of Farmers. The subsidy regime was completely cut-throat approach to shortchange farmers.
Sadly, whilst farmers are still grappling with the unacceptable fertilizer subsidy regime, Government is making plans to scrap off completely this regime and introduce full cost recovery under fertilizer management. This simply means Government will wean itself of the longstanding regime of making fertilizers available to farmers to a regime of each farmer for himself/herself and God for us all. In short if the Government succeeds in this trajectory farmers will have to pay fully for all the Fertilizers needed for the agricultural activities.
This idea and approach is ill-advised and unconscionable. Farmers in Ghana must unanimously rise up and reject this dangerous trajectory that the Government wants to go. If Government of Ghana can grant tax exemption to foreign investors and companies who will end up repatriating their profits while can’t the same Government make fertilizers available to the indigenous Farmers of Ghana whose produce will feed the nation, create food security, create jobs and top of its all keep their profits within the country?.
If indeed the SO-CALLED Planting for Food and jobs is a success as has been touted then why must we scrap off the fertilizer subsidy regime?
The Government of Ghana must realize that Fertilizer is the engine of any meaning agricultural revolution and any attempt to introduce full cost recovery under fertilizer management is sheer wickedness and tantamount to inflicting much pains on farmers.
Serious agricultural revolution and agribusiness is not just about Sloganeering it is about get the fundamentals right.
Bernard Oduro Takyi
Founder & CEO
Omanbapa Ghana Ltd