The Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has instituted a number of measures to curb the rampant smuggling of fertilizers in the Region.
Consequently, the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) was on Friday tasked to streamline the number of fertilizer dealers in the nine districts of the Region towards eliminating those who smuggle the commodity across the borders of Togo and Burkina Faso to sell.
Currently, the Region has 221 registered fertilizer dealers who are supposed to sell the Government’s subsidized fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices but it is alleged that majority of them smuggle the input across the Burkina Faso and Togo borders where the commodity is in high demand at the expense of the peasant farmers.
District Directors of MOFA have also been tasked to effectively monitor the fertilizer agents in their respective Districts, particularly, those whose districts share borders with Togo and Burkina Faso to ensure that they do not smuggle them.
The Regional Director of MOFA has also been tasked to ensure that the Region gets an agent of the fertilizers to supply to the distributors for sale to the farmers instead of allowing them to travel far distances to the Northern Region where they incur extra cost.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mark Woyongo, who chairs the REGSEC, sounded a warning to the fertilizer dealers who smuggle the subsidized fertilizer that they would not be spared when caught.
He explained that Government spends huge sums of foreign currency importing the commodity with the aim of supporting the peasant farmers and warned that it was wrong to sell the fertilizers in large quantities to commercial farmers.
The Regional Director of MOFA, Mr Cletus Achaab, attributed some of the challenges confronting the sale of the subsidized fertilizers to the peasant farmers to the high number of fertilizer dealers in the Region and said in Bawku alone, where the smuggle of the commodity was high, there are about 67 distributors.
He said vehicles that transport the fertilizers also arrive too late in the night or too early in the morning, between 2200 hours and 0300 hours when most of the MOFA staff who are expected to do the monitoring had closed from work.
He mentioned the inadequate staffing of the security agencies along the border towns and the use of unapproved routes by the transporters as part of the problems.
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