The PRO of The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr Tanko Bagbara, has encouraged all Ghanaian farmers to partake in the biometric registration for the e-agriculture programme.
The e-agriculture is a technological platform aimed at monitoring and tracking activities and progress of farmers through a database system. This is one of the policies under the planting for food and jobs initiative by the government to address the declining growth of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
Speaking on the Rite FM morning show, Mr Tanko Bagbara said MOFA is strengthening all the pillars of the planting for food and jobs programme for a successful planting season in 2019. Among one of the strategies is to use biometric registration by farmers to monitor the activities in the farm year.
Through the electronic system, government wants to eliminate fertilizer and other agricultural inputs smuggling. The system will ensure that subsidized fertilizer sacks for the planting for food and jobs will be customized, as it will make it possible to track all fertilizer bags and inputs from suppliers all the way to the farmer. The sacks will have a code that will provide details of the fertilizer type, district, region, source, distributor and details of the retailer.
Mr Bagbara added that “in the 2018 farming season, the Ministry of food and agriculture used the coupon system in fertilizer distribution but MOFA will not use it this year too”.
He also added that, in the previous year, many farmers did not use the improved seeds introduced by MOFA. As a result, MOFA has made a policy to educate the farmers to use improved seeds for better yield.
Equally, he stated that, in the previous year, farmers complained about delays in the delivery of the fertilizers and other farm inputs and so, inputs will be distributed to the farmers early and in due time and the distribution will start from the month of February.
In 2019, MOFA is expected to employ about 2,700 extension officers for proper extension service delivery. Also, 3000 motor bikes have been bought in partnership with the Canadian government for onward distribution to the various extension departments.
Mr Bagbara said “the coupon system is different from the biometric system… the biometric system is to inform planning and strategy in the agricultural sector”. Also “The biometric system is an old system we’re improving. Every farmer must register. It will give details about you and it will be very important to inform policy making” he added. The electronic system will provide affordable, prompt and efficient agricultural service delivery through the use of the internet.
In 2019, fertilizer prices are expected to be subsidized further, where NPK (all types) will sell at Gh¢75 per 50kg bag, Urea will sell at Gh¢70 per 50kg bag and Organic fertilizer; granular will sell at Gh¢45 per 25kg bag, Compost will sell at Gh¢20 per 50kg bag and Liquid fertilizer will sell at Gh¢19 per liter.
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