Barely a year after implementation, the Planting for Food and Jobs programme is facing serious challenges.
The government has lost Ghc 414,141 out of the Ghc 1,106,865 invested in the programme.
This is because 1,946 farmers in the Wa Municipal Assembly of the Upper West Region have defaulted in payment for the inputs and other services supplied to them by the government under the programme.
Issahaku Moomin Tahiru, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) made the revelation at a town hall meeting in Wa.
He said most farmers in the area mistook the farm inputs and support given to them as gifts.
“Many of these beneficiaries feel that government’s subsidized projects are for people to benefit for the sake of benefiting and there is no need for them to come back and pay. So the majority of them take it as ‘thank you’ from Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and we believe that yes, it is ‘thank you’ from Nana Addo.”
He expressed worry over the situation saying that “already His Excellency and the NPP government have already subsidized the products for them and that alone is enough for them to say thank you. But the little that they have to pay to make the programme sustainable we have not been able to do that and I think that is not good.”
The situation has led to a reduction in the number of beneficiaries of the programme in the municipality to a little over 1,000 as compared to last year’s 5,200.
Mr. Tahiru, however indicated that the Assembly has already begun taking steps to retrieve the locked up cash.
“We have been in touch with some assembly members and the electoral areas these people come from, and again some people guaranteed for them [farmers] to take the inputs, so we are asking them to try and speak to the people for us. At least there is going to be an engagement because we have already engaged some of them and they have indicated their resolve.”
Meanwhile, the defaulters attribute their inability to make the payment to what they say is the poor rain pattern and the invasion of fall armyworms on their farms.
In a related development, civil society organizations such as the Community Development Alliance Ghana (CDAG) are calling for a probe into the matter.
Salifu Issifu, Executive Director of CDAG, is demanding that a lot of consultations are done to look into circumstances that might have led to the current situation.
“Are we sure and can we verify the claims that these farmers indeed actually took the inputs and contributed to agricultural productivity in the Upper West region”.
Planting for Food & Jobs fertilizer worth GH¢600,000 stolen
Seven officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in the Sunyani Municipality of the Brong Ahafo were recently reported to be under investigation for stealing fertilizers for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kweku Asomah-Cheremeh who made this known at a press conference said the fertilizers, estimated at GH¢600,000 were stolen between November 2017 to June 2018 at the Ministry’s warehouse.
Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh said the Police and BNI had begun investigations into the development.