The Community Development Alliance (CDD-Ghana), an NGO focused on community and rural development based in the Upper West Region, has held a breakfast engagement meeting with the media in the region to sensitize and highlight a baseline assessment of government of Ghana fertilizer subsidy program in two districts of the upper west region namely; Sisaala West and Lambussie districts respectively for 2017 farming season.
In a presentation to highlight the baseline assessment of the government of Ghana fertilizer subsidy program for the two districts in the region, Sisaala West and Lambussie for the 2017 farming season, the programs manager of CDA-Ghana, Mr Bipuah Sulemani, noted that, a research has been conducted to ascertain the value of the planting for food and jobs programs especially in the two districts by CDA-Ghana, and in that research, 93 local farmers were selected in the Lambussie district and 97 farmers were also selected in the Sisaala West districts. He added that, a quantitative and qualitative examination was done to create a better picture of whether the program has been supportive or otherwise helpful to the farmers in the region.
According to him, some challenges that confronted the program in the first farming season after its implementation, comprises of constant smuggling of fertilizer to neighboring Burkina Faso, the over politicization of the policy, the seeming lack of sensitization of farmers to better understand what the policy was meant for, double registration of some farmers and among others heckled the program.
In their quest to better the program, Mr. Bipuah revealed that, CDA-Ghana, has made some recommendations to government which they think will support strengthen the program in realizing a lasting impact in the coming farming seasons.
He said, for the program to be beneficial to the Upper West farmers, there is the need to depoliticize the policy, the need for MOFA officials in the Upper West region, to mount surveillance in the areas being used as routes to smuggle the fertilizer to other countries (especially Burkina Faso). The Programs Manager further stressed the need for more extension officers to be employed to guide farmers in the farming season and the use of an electronic registration of farmers across Ghana. These recommendations, according to CDA-Ghana will prevent double registration and also enhances proper monitoring mechanisms in the distribution of the subsidized fertilizer.
On his part, the Executive Director of CDA-Ghana, Mr Issifu Salifu Kanton highlighted the critical role the media play in the development of society, with their watch-dog role and the duty of holding government and policy makers accountable, in his view, the media is very essential and for them (CDA-Ghana), this will be the beginning of a long-term working relationship aimed at educating and providing innovative ways of solving problems that are confronting society.
Meanwhile, director has however stated that, the 35 page document will be forwarded to government through the minister for food and Agriculture.