The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) on behalf of smallholder farmers in Ghana expresses our utmost disappointment with the government for its decision to reject in-kind repayment for input support under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme. This directive captured in a letter, from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to Directors of Agriculture at both Regional and District, dated 16th November 2017, is in bad faith and seeks to breach the agreement between government, through the ministry, and beneficiaries of the programme, prior to its inception.
The beneficiaries, prior to the inception of the programme were told by the Agricultural Minister and his representatives at the Regional and District level of 50% input support of which farmers were to make down payment of 25% and the other 25% to be paid in cash or in-kind (using produce to pay). Subsequent to that, there were several meetings with District Directors of agriculture and the beneficiaries to discuss repayment modalities of which in-kind repayment were further re-iterated. In September 2017, there were other several meetings with District Directors of agriculture across the ten regions of Ghana with farmers, on repayment modalities and the same repayment modalities were emphasized.
On the basis of this, many farmers relied and bought into the idea as it was a way of addressing the problem of market access, reduce post-harvest losses and address problem of low prices due to glut of mass sales after harvest to offset credit.
It is therefore surprising, shocking and disappointing for the Minister of Agriculture to take a unilateral decision and issue a directive to all Regional and District Directors of Agriculture to receive repayment only in cash without re-negotiating with farmers. This is a serious breach of agreement and unfair treatment on the part of government.
We are by this calling on the Minister to as a matter of urgency to reconsider the decision and stick to the initial agreement based on the following reasons:
1. An agreement is by two or more parties and any decision to alter any part of the agreement should be by mutual consent
2. The initial agreement gave assurance of repayment in-kind when there is no available market and reneging on that position will surely lead to low recovery
3. The new directives will give avenue for dishonest farmers to find reasons for non-repayment
4. The government can easily sell the in-kind repayment through National Food Buffer Stock Company, School Feeding Programme etc.
In conclusion, whiles PFAG is calling on government to reconsider its position to receive repayment only in cash, PFAG is also admonishing all farmers, especially, PFAG members who benefited from the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to honour their part of the initial agreement and make their produce or cash repayment ready for the government.
Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana envisioned the PFJ programme as laudable and will not hesitate to handover any defaulting member for necessary action.
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), is the apex Farmer-Based Non-Governmental Organization in Ghana with the mandate to advocate for pro poor agriculture and trade policies and other issues that affects the livelihoods of small holder farmers.
For further information, please contact:
Abdul- Rahman Mohammed- National President of PFAG on 0243 633 666
Ms. Victoria Adongo, Programme Coordinator of PFAG
Mr. Charles Nyaaba, Programme Officer of PFAG on 0203 035 672
Mr. Charles Nyaaba, Programme Officer of PFAG
For Mr. Abdul- Rahman Mohammed
(National President and Board Chair of PFAG)