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The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu, has urged residents, particularly farmers, to be vigilant and to volunteer information to enable a crackdown on persons who smuggle fertiliser out of the country.
Mr Yakubu said anyone who would help to recover fertilisers already smuggled or in the process of being smuggled would be rewarded with 10 per cent of the consignment’s value.
“About three days ago, I had to stop an input dealer selling fertiliser at a price that was higher than the government’s stipulated prices at Garu, and I locked up the shop of the dealer. I warned him that if that happens again, we would blacklist his company for good,” the Regional Minister said.
Mr Yakubu was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Bolgatanga to clarify some issues regarding the fertiliser subsidy policy under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme in the region.
He said the fertiliser issue was now “hot news in the region as we speak”, adding that the region was doing its best to stop the illegal practice and allow the government’s sponsored fertiliser initiative to succeed.
“The quantity of fertiliser that came in this year is not the same as what came in last year; prices of fertilisers have gone up and because of COVID-19, it has affected the fertiliser inflow into the country,” Mr Yakubu observed.
He, however, gave the assurance that the supply of fertilisers coming in had been restricted to prevent smuggling and to enable farmers to get access to their share.
Mr Yakubu indicated that systems put in place in the region to check the smuggling of fertiliser were working effectively to control the fertilisers in both the open market and under the government’s fertiliser subsidy policy.
For instance, he said, a police escort was provided for trucks to any district within the region to offload the fertilisers.
The agricultural directors, the police and representatives of the district chief executives also jointly ensured that the fertilisers were offloaded into approved warehouses at the districts, while the agricultural directors were made aware of the location of all the approved warehouses.
The fertilisers, he said, were not to be sold to buyers at night, and so the items were secured under lock and key.
In a related development, the Upper East Regional Police Command has issued a statement signed by its Public Affairs Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police David Fianko-Okyere, denying publications in a section of the media suggesting that the police were supporting smuggling of fertilisers from Bawku to Burkina Faso.