The Upper West Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) has released the 54 articulated trucks impounded last Monday on suspicion of smuggling over 8,000 bags of fertilizers designated for Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme.
The RCC freed the vehicles upon advice from the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) that cleared the vehicles after thorough inspections on them established they were embarking on legal journey to designated areas in the Region. Mr Eli Tsikata, Deputy Coordinating Director at the Upper West RCC, told the Ghana News Agency that full investigations by the security agencies revealed that the trucks were really moving to appropriate designations.
“We called authorities from Accra and they confirmed that the vehicles were going to Tumu and Gwolu and so, we were left with no option than to dispatch them,” he said. Even though, the police reported on Monday that the trucks were 54, the RCC pegged the number at 74 and that they were loaded with maize seeds and fertilizers, and not only fertilizers.
Mr Tsikata could not indicate how many of the vehicles carried fertilizers or seeds, but said the RCC inspected mini bags of fertilizers and had no business with maxi bags. He said the mini bags were designed for farmers in the northern parts of the country. He added that the RCC with the security agencies went through the way bills of each vehicle, which revealed that they loaded the fertilizers from Accra to deliver to Gwolu, Wa and Tumu Assemblies.
The Police Command impounded 54 articulated trucks suspected of smuggling 8,640 bags of fertilizer meant for the PFJs programme with each truck loaded with 1,600 bags. The police could not confirm whether the fertilizers were in the mini bags (25 kilogrammes) or maxi bags (50 kilogrammes). The Ministry of Food and Agriculture early this year directed all 25 kilogramme bags with inscription PFJs were strictly meant for distribution to farmers in the northern part Ghana, while the 50 kilogrammes were distribution in the southern sector.
The Ministry warned that any 50 kilogrammes bagged fertilizer with the PFJs inscription found in any part of the five regions in northern Ghana is assumed to have been smuggled and vice versa and therefore should be confiscated. This was part of tough measures instituted by government to halt widespread PFJs fertilizer smuggling. The impounded vehicles had a white paper inscriptions in black embossed on their windscreens that read: “Ghana government project, fertilizer and seeds. Evacuation, Tumu /Tamale”.