Farmers Spit Fire On Mills
5/1/2012 2:32:00 PM -
FARMERS IN the Ejura-Sekyedumase district of the Ashanti region have vowed to vote massively against the Mills-led administration in the December 7 polls.
The angry farmers say their decision is based on the fact that the current government has refused to release fertilizer subsidies for farmers in the middle belt zone.
The middle belt zone which comprises the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Western regions forms the largest component of the country's food basket.
According to the farmers, who are mainly cereal and legume producers, the absence of the subsidy is having a devastating effect on their activities.
Checks conducted by DAILY GUIDE revealed that the fertilizer subsidy policy was initiated by the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) to promote agriculture.
When the NPP was in power, the price of a bag of a fertilizer was almost halved to ensure that poor farmers could afford it but the initiative seems to have stalled under the present government.
This was confirmed by farmers at Dromakuma, a maize farming community at Ejura.
They complained to the paper that last year for instance, their yield decreased drastically as a result of the government's reluctance to release the subsidy.
As per the dictates of the cropping season, the middle zone belt experiences their major cropping season between March and July, implying that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should release the subsidy before commencement of the season.
The farmers said if government had released the subsidy on time, the product would have not been out of the reach of the ordinary farmer.
The price of a bag of fertilizer costs about GH¢70 but with the subsidy it would cost between GH¢40 and GH¢45 per bag.
The farmers argued that because they do not have money to buy the fertilizers from the open market at the prevailing price, their farms have been deprived of quality yield.
It is expected that each farmer should apply at least three bags of NPK fertilizers to his farm when the produce is about five weeks old and ammonium when the crop is about to tassel.
They wondered why the National Democratic Congress government had failed to provide them with the subsidy, vowing to show their displeasure with the government during the December polls.
Interestingly, the Ejura-Sekyedumase constituency is a stronghold of the ruling party where it has won elections since multi-party democracy commenced in the country in 1992.
From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi