President Nana Akuffo-Addo has issued a firm directive to the police and all other security agencies in the Upper East Region to deal ruthlessly with individuals or groups who are engaged in the smuggling of subsidised fertiliser meant for Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
Since the inception of this farming season, about 10,000 bags of PFJ fertiliser have been impounded in Bolgatanga and Navrongo before they could be smuggled into neighbouring Burkina Faso.
The confiscated fertiliser has since been distributed to vulnerable farmers in all the fifteen districts in the region upon the directive of the regional Minister, Tangoba Abayage.
But during his courtesy call on the paramount chief of Navrongo Traditional Area, Navro-Pio Pe Denis Balinia Asagibare II, on day two of his tour of some parts of the Upper East Region, the visibly disturbed President Akuffo-Addo instructed advised all the security agencies in the region to be on high alert for fertiliser smugglers and to arrest and prosecute them.
With a heavy heart, the President said, “Traditional rulers, I hope we should all understand one thing, that it’s not possible for all of us to use our country’s money, our taxpayers’ money, yours and mine, and the money that our nation is able to develop, we use it to buy fertiliser and subsidise it by 50% in order to improve the productivity of our farmers.
“Our farmers have embraced the programme of Planting for Food and Jobs. It began with two hundred thousand farmers. Today, it is almost one million in two and half years to show the enthusiasm of our farmers for this programme and it’s all of us, our money which is inside this programme, not just the farmer, people sitting in offices in Accra are contributing, those sitting in offices in Navrongo are contributing. It’s not just the farmers. And then we have a handful of greedy people, a handful of greedy criminals and they will use our money and smuggle our things to Burkina Faso.”
Aside his call for prosecution of the smugglers, President Akuffo-Addo also appealed to traditional leaders and the general public to be vigilant and report suspected issues of fertiliser smuggling to security offers for prompt actions.
He said, “I am appealing to all of you, traditional rulers and the population, I have seen the ones that have been seized by this very active woman [Regional Minister, Tangoba Abayage] at the residency, I have seen the lorries that are there, I have seen them in the police station here in Navrongo. It’s not right. All of us should bind together to stop the smuggling of our fertiliser to Burkina Faso.”
The president later inspected works ongoing on the Doninga Bridge in the Builsa North and also visited the Fumbisi Rice Valley where many farmers are engaged in PFJ programme.