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General News of Thursday, 23 September 2021


Your brother does not qualify for subsidized fertilizer – Agric Minister replies ‘clueless’ Mahama

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture

•John Mahama has said that government is not providing adequate funding for the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative

•He cited his brother as one of many farmers who did not enjoy subsidized fertilizers from the government

•Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has rubbished the claim by Mahama

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has described claims by former President John Dramani Mahama about food shortage as ‘clueless’ and without substance.

Dr Afriyie Akoto intimates that the premise for John Mahama’s stance which is the refusal of subsidized fertilizer to his brother is hollow and cannot be used to make any cogent argument.

Speaking to JoyNews, Dr Afriyie Akoto maintained that it is untrue that there is fertilizer shortage and that government made fertilizer available to all qualified farms.

An agitated Afriyie Akoto urged John Mahama to rise above partisan politics and focus on the things which are of relevance to Ghanaians.

“For him to make such a conclusion from one observation, it means that when it comes to statistics, he has absolutely no clue. It is just like he coming to parliament when I was Member of Parliament putting four people in the balcony of parliament and said evidence base. We don’t do that! Though we are talking politics, Ghanaians are more intelligent than that,” he fumed.

Tackling the issue of denial of subsidized fertilizer to John Mahama’s brother, Dr Afriyie Akoto declared that Mahama’s brother did not meet the criteria for subsidized fertilizer.

Afriyie Akoto accused Mahama’s brother of enjoying a facility which he should not have benefited from in the first place.

“The subsidies are meant for farmers with 2, 3 acres which is the bulk of smallholders and not for 300 acres for goodness sake. So he has actually scrounged on poor farmers to start with if he was able to do 300 acres with subsidised fertiliser. So what Mr Mahama is saying cannot be true. In any case, we are talking about millions and millions of farmers.

His comments are a response to Mahama’s view that the Planting for Food and Jobs program risks collapsing if the government does not inject adequate funds into it.

John Mahama is quoted to have said that the lack of adequate funding for the program has resulted in farmers not getting subsidized fertilizers.

“My brother is a farmer and he tells me this year, he has not received any fertiliser supply from the government and so he bought his own fertiliser and a bag of fertiliser is very expensive. Normally, he cultivates 300 acres of maize each year. But this year, he had to reduce it, he was not able to cultivate even 80 acres. So there’s a possibility of food shortage next year because the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme has failed,” the former President explained.

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