The Centre for Agricultural Policy and Analysis (CAPMA), believes farmers are being scared away from enrolling on the Planting for Food and Jobs programme due to the commitment fees they have to pay before being granted inputs.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the Centre’s head, Bright Demordzi, argued that, “we have to scrap the issue of commitment fee because if we are aware the farmers have the farmland and have prepared the land, then why the issue of commitment? “
“The commitment fee for the farmers is scaring the farmers and that is why the programme is failing,” Mr. Demordzi stated, adding that farmers must pay for inputs and “most of the farmers do not have resources” making it counterproductive.
“These farmers don’t have the resources to pay for the commitment fee… so if you move to the communities now, most of these farmers who registered for this programme are not working on the programme,” he added.
The assessment from CAPMA follows the admission by the Minister of State in charge of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Nurah Gyiele, that the programme is struggling to register the targeted 200,000 smallholder farmers.
Warning from peasant farmers
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana had expressed concerns that the current plan for the programme excluded over 70% of peasant farmers.
The association said the programme risked failure if it was not properly restructured to target more small-scale farmers, instead of large-scale farmers.
It also noted that, farmers would be discouraged by government’s directive that beneficiaries of the programme deposit some amount of money into a bank account.
Late distribution of inputs
Per CAPMA’s monitoring on the field, Mr. Demordzi said “the signs are not very good at all” as he raised concerns with the distribution of inputs to the various communities, which he said “is inefficiently done.”
“As at the end of May, a lot of districts and agriculture communities don’t have access to the feed and fertilizers. Some companies are still importing fertilizer into this country to be distributed to the various points.” “If we are at the end of May and farmers don’t have access to the input, then what we are saying is that, the whole of the southern zone will not have access to the input and will not be able to produce within the first season of the programme.”