The Upper West Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has indefinitely imposed curfew on the movement of fertiliser and other farm inputs in the Sissala East Municipality and Sissala West District of the Region.
This is a measure to curtail smuggling of the farming compost out of the country and ensure that farmers, particularly those in the Upper Region, had enough to purchase.
The curfew imposition comes in about a week after a 2020 Monitoring of Fertilisers report by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), disclosed that cartels were smuggling and hoarding fertilisers in parts of the northern regions.
The areas that the activities of the cartels including politicians, chiefs, community leaders, security agencies and farmers occurred were Hohoe, West Mamprusi, Mamprugu-Moagduri, Pusiga and Sisala East.
The monitoring showed that the act was hampering the government’s Fertiliser Subsidy Programme (FSP) for smallholder farmers and the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
The Chairman of the Upper West Regional Security Council, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, making the disclosure over the weekend said, no vehicle would be allowed to cart fertiliser in the Sissala East and West.
To this end, all persons intending to buy in large quantities are to do so with a police escort, and cart their fertiliser from 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.
Dr Bin Salih said this during a meeting with input dealers and other stakeholders at Tumu as part of measures to safeguard agricultural activities in the Upper West Region.
“It’s disheartening to note that intelligence got to use that smuggling was taking place, particularly in the Sissala West, and we got alarmed as some 45 Rhino truckloads of fertiliser, each carrying about 300 pieces of fertiliser, were carted into Burkina Faso,” he said.
“The scale of the act of smuggling led to the Ministry of Agriculture withdrawing names of dealers who had records of dabbling in smuggling in previous years.”
He stated that to curtail the phenomenon, “All farm inputs coming into the region must first report to the Regional Coordinating Council for us to know the vehicle, the quantity, and the destination.”
Once they get into the Sissala area, the consignment to be offloaded into shops and sold to the public, and anyone found flouting this rule will have the fertiliser confiscated, sold and the vehicle involved impounded and auctioned.
“Some of you want to stab the nation at the back and this has become a security threat, we will, therefore, not allow you to endanger the lives of Ghanaians by taking fertiliser to our neighbours all the time,” Dr Bin Salih said.
He hinted that should these measures not work, stricter ones would be introduced to ensure that people were stopped from “this unpatriotic act.”
The Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat in May last year warned that the programme risked collapsing if pragmatic efforts were not made to stop the smuggling of government-subsidised fertilisers.
The Secretariat disclosed that Ghana lost GH₵120 million through unaccounted for fertiliser, diversion of coupons and fertiliser smuggling in the 2017 and 2018 planting seasons.
Due to this, the Secretariat asked that stakeholders in the value provided the necessary assistance to stem out the illegal act to avert the threat it imposed to the sector and the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.