Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, has bemoaned the rampant illicit smuggling of subsidized fertilizers meant for the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme in the region.
The Regional Minister, specifically mentioned the Sissala West District and the Sissala East Municipality, which had gained notoriety in fertilizer smuggling making the region gain national attention and called on all to join forces to confront the negative phenomenon to defeat it.
Bin Salih who expressed the worry during the Regional Coordinating Council Meeting in Wa, encouraged residents along the borders to collaborate with the security agencies to check and halt the activities of what he described as "nation wreckers" who according to him were bent on undermining the laudable government initiative.
"I have cautioned input dealers in the Sissala East and West Assemblies of my resolve to recommend for the revocation of the license of any input dealer who is found to be involved in smuggling", he said.
"I did not mince words when I met with the security agencies to up their game and not be accomplices to the smuggling of fertilizers; else risk being reported to their superiors for their actions or inactions in perpetrating this crime against the nation", he emphasized.
Touching on some of the government interventions in the agriculture sector, the Regional Minister disclosed that from 2017 to 2019, a total of 309,190 people benefited from the PFJ programme with a total area of 380,128 hectares under cultivation.
For the "One-District-One-Warehouse" initiative, Dr Bin Salih hinted that two warehouses at Bussie and Han had been completed awaiting commissioning whereas the remaining five located at Bulenga, Charikpong, Tumu, Lambussie and Funsi were at various stages of completion.
He indicated that 56 dams and dugouts under the "One-Village-One-Dam" initiative were awarded on contract in all the 11 constituencies in the region with 21 of them completed and being put to use.
On the Planting for Export and Rural Development programme, the Minister disclosed that a total of 13,792 persons benefited in the region whilst a total of 1,320,000 cashew seedlings were nursed under the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project and were ready for distribution to farmers in the various Municipalities and Districts for planting.
He said through the "Rearing for Food and Jobs" programme launched by the President in June, 2019 in Wa, a total of 2,000 sheep were distributed to 200 farmers whereas a total of 2,500 cockerels were distributed to 250 farmers in Wa, Jirapa, and Nandom Municipalities and Wa East and Sissala West Districts.
Dr Bin Salih emphasized that government was really burnt on revamping the agricultural sector with all the above initiatives and urged the youth in the region to take advantage of the interventions to improve their lot.