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General News of Saturday, 26 January 2019

Source: Peacefmonline.com

Government introduces coding system to cut down fertilizer smuggling

The Akufo-Addo led administration, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has introduced a new electronic coding and traceable system in a bid to monitor government’s fertilizer subsidy programme and farming inputs for farmers.

The new service requires every farmer who wants to benefit from the subsidy to be biometrically registered but farmers who have already registered can have access to purchase the fertilizer.

Before any purchase is made, an agent at the retail shop would take the finger print of the farmer and match it with the code on the bag of the fertilizer.

The code identifies region, district zone, fertilizer type, source, distributor and details of the retailer. It will be able to track all fertilizer bags and inputs from suppliers all the way to end user which is the farmer.

The new technology is expected to eliminate fertilizer smuggling in the country, as subsidized fertilizers would now have a special code like the tax stamp introduced by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

This traceability technique is the most affordable off-net and real-time technology to improve the service and deliver a value for money platform. Retailers will be given a set of scannable codes to label their inputs based on quantity of allocation.

This new highly efficient and traceable fertilizer subsidy management system is to ensure that farmers who have registered biometrically benefit from the fertilizer subsidy by the government.

MoFA is currently deploying about 2600 agents to all fertilizer retail shops in the country to register farmers biometrically.

The effective input distribution was achieved through the electronic biometric registration which has currently registered over 500,000 farmers throughout the country.

This means that about 500, 000 farmers are now using the mobile input acquisition platform which is to help farmers reduce stress, acquire relevant information on good agriculture practices, weather, quality input, markets tendency, among others.

However agriculture experts say there is the need for the government to increase the farmer biometric registration to cover about 2.5 million farmers as well as expand the extension services to achieve higher yields this year.