Police in the Upper West Region has disputed reports that smuggling of fertiliser in the region is on the rise despite recent concerns to the contrary.
Farmers in the region have complained of consistent diversion of smuggling of subsidised fertiliser meant for them.
In Sissala East, for example, farmers called for a change in the security setup to protect the fertiliser.
The Public Relations Officer of the Upper West Regional Police Command, Inspector Gideon Ohene Boateng, however, told Citi News that security agencies have worked to improve the integrity of the fertiliser distribution.
“I will not say it is rampant. We are patrolling day and night and at times it is diversion and not smuggling to a different country. [Smuggling] happens once in a blue moon.”
“If I say [smuggling] is on the increase, I will not be telling the truth and I don’t want to put sand in the eyes of the general public. We will say that security is very tight here. Police, in conjunction with other sister security agencies, are performing day and night duties around.”
A farmer from Sissala East who spoke to Citi News complained that smuggling of the fertiliser has forced poor formers to seek fertiliser on the open market at the regular prices.
Ibrahim Mahama, from Tumu, acknowledged that the security presence had increased but this had not curbed the purported smuggling.
“We are pleading to change all of the security agents here and bring new security. [They should also] employ some of the boys here and give them motorbikes to be going around… We thought when they brought the soldiers, it would help us this year but this year, it has gotten worse.”
As an added measure, the Upper West Regional Security Council has detailed a joint police-military patrol team along the Tumu-Burkina Faso border to check the reports of smuggling.