The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has engaged stakeholders in the agriculture sector to bring back tax exemptions on farm inputs, particularly fertilizer.
The discussions which had brought on board the Ministry of Finance, were to make the inputs more affordable to farmers since the taxes were usually passed onto the farmers.
Mr Brian Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture who announced the discussions when the Fertilizer Platform Ghana (FPG), led by Ernest Osei-Assibey, Co-Chair for Public Sector and Richmond Dogbe Co-Chair for Private Sector, paid a courtesy call on him in Accra.
During the call, there were discussions on some salient issues confronting the fertilizer sector in Ghana.
The Minister said he was confident that the exemptions would be re-instituted in the coming weeks so that there would be some relief for farmers.
He said the Ministry had taken into consideration all the challenges within the value chain and as a matter of urgency had made significant steps to solve them like fine-tuning the Planting for Foods and Jobs (PFJ)
Mr Acheampong said: “The PFJ has been revised and the details of the new ‘’Enhanced PFJ” are to be communicated to stakeholders soon. The new approach will take the form of cooperative farming where inputs will be distributed through aggregators to nuclear farmers’ groups.”
He said the PFJ market would be allowed to operate freely, and farmers’ choice of fertilizer would be respected, adding that supply made through an aggregator would be selected and profiled by a technical team and a bank guarantee system would be used.
The new model would have financial institutions, Ghana Commodity Exchange, input dealers and farmers on one ‘Ghana Agricultural Platform’ to enable the repayment of input suppliers in a short time (4-6 months) for the supply of their inputs to support the programme.
“There is a plan to pay off arrears owed input suppliers for the past 2 to 3 years, which had been one of the drawbacks of the existing programme,” he said.
Aggregators would be expected to off-take the produce and supply to the Buffer stock or Ghana Commodity exchange.
Meanwhile, the Minister said the enhanced PFJ will be launched on June 2 to begin the initial phase of bringing on board relevant stakeholders to be registered on the electronic platform that would be used to implement and monitor the programme.
Mr Ernest Osei-Assibey, Co-chair, Public Sector, FPG, said the Fertilizer Platform Ghana, would review fertilizers products used for the PFJ programmes during the year to determine their suitability for achieving programme targets.
He appealed to the Minister to facilitate ongoing initiatives of the sector which include revision of soil maps across the country, soil amendment’s programmes in areas identified as acidic and need to encourage composite application of inorganic and organic fertilizers.