Claim: The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, claims Ghana is the only West African country that has subsidized fertilizers for local farmers.
Research shows that Niger and Nigeria which are West African countries have all subsidized fertilizer for their farmers.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has claimed that Ghana is the only country that has subsidized fertilizers for farmers in West Africa.
He was speaking on the Kokrokoo Morning Show on Peace Fm, hosted by Kwame Sefa Kayi on March 3, 2022. The claim was made on the (17 minutes:11 seconds to 17 minutes :30 seconds) of the interview when the host questioned him on measures taken to end fertilizer smuggling in the country and why fertilizer is being smuggled.
In response to the question, the Minister who spoke in a local dialect, “Twi ” said “To begin with, the first is the government’s decision to reduce the prices of fertilizer in the country. In the West African Region, no country has subsidized fertilizer. Talk of Togo, Côte D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, they don’t subsidize fertilizer.”
The show was streamed live on major social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. On YouTube, it has garnered over 4,000 views.
Agriculture is the backbone of many African countries. Even though it contributes immensely to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in some West African countries, production has been one of the challenges local farmers face. As such, helping farmers by subsiding fertilizers is one of the major ways countries have tried to assist their farmers.
When a government says it has subsidized fertilizer for farmers, it means it has compensated fertilizer companies to produce and sell fertilizers to farmers below market prices.
In April 2017, the government of Ghana under the leadership of President Akufo Addo launched its flagship agricultural program dubbed ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ). The sole aim was to increase agricultural productivity, provide food security, and create jobs. The program subsidized all-size crop farmers, covering approximately 50 percent of fertilizer prices
In real terms, is Ghana the only country that has subsided fertilizer for farmers in West Africa?
According to the United Nations, West Africa includes the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.
During our research, we found a West African Fertilizer Watch document focusing on fertilizer programs in Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo in 2020. In this document, the countries listed above have all implemented fertilizer subsidy programs for farmers in their countries.
In Nigeria, DUBAWA found out that President of Nigeria Muhammed Buhari launched a program in December 2016 called the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI). The project aimed to ensure local production of fertilizer and ensure efficient distribution to farmers.
With this initiative, prices of fertilizer were reduced from N9,000-N11,000 per bag to N5,500 for local farmers. This is confirmed in a news report by premiumtimes.com, a major online news portal in Nigeria and allafrica.com.
In Niger, the government in 2010 introduced the Central Supply of Inputs and Agricultural Materials (CAIMA) to help boost agricultural production, by helping farmers get access to fertilizers at low cost. This program was later confronted with challenges. As a result and with the help of Challenge Cooperation (MCC) and the government of Niger, the National Fertilizer Reform Plan was established.
In this plan, according to Feed the Future, a U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the government of Niger created a new digital voucher program and a computerized monitoring system, enabling the government for the first time to trace fertilizer subsidies and ensure they end up in the hands of the farmers who need them.
Before its implementation, a pilot programme in 2019 was done and of the 15,000 potential participants (farmers) identified, 12,830 were successfully registered and issued electronic voucher cards. By the end of the pilot, 7,211 farmers had each received four bags of fertilizer. The subsidy by the government paid for two.
With the evidence provided, DUBAWA can conclude that Ghana is not the only West African country that has subsidized fertilizer for its farmers. Research shows that countries like Niger and Nigeria have all subsidized fertilizer for farmers in their country.