Pay our arrears – National Seed Trade Ass. to Finance Ministry

The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) has called on the Ministry of Finance to pay monies owed them.

According to the Association, if this is not done, the country may experience a worsened state of food security and a possible collapse of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs Programme.

In a statement signed by the NASTAG President, the Association stated that over the last couple of years, it has been compelled to offer sacrificial services to government, despite the unavailability of funds.

This, the Association said can no longer continue, and therefore the need for government to honour all its financial obligations to them.

“The food security situation may get worse as most of these out growers are likely to abandon their fields. Over 40,000 smallholder farmers are directly or indirectly affected by the unduly delayed payment and stands a high chance of affecting over 700,000 other smallholder farmers who depend on the local seed producers for seed and sponsorship to produce their grains.

The current increasing food prices could get worse in the coming months and next year if something imminent is not done about the payment of this debt.

The northern sector is at the peak of their season while the southern sector is entering the minor rainfall season. With immediate payments, farmers could still produce sufficient quantities of various seeds for the 2023 planting season and reducing the food prices in the country”, portions of the statement read.

The Association also warned that “Any further delay in payment would mean low production of food locally, with high dependency on importation with high increasing rate of exchange between the Ghana Cedi and the major world currencies (e.g. US Dollars, Chinese Yuan, European Euro and UK Pounds)”.

The Association added that if their concerns are not addressed, they may resort to other alternatives to have their grievances addressed.

“It is our expectation therefore that, your intervention on this matter will yield the desired results; ensuring that seed companies receive their full payments by ending of September, 2022.

While hoping for positive response within the shortest possible time, the leadership of NASTAG have done enough to contain several calls for public agitations from members and they should not be blamed as any further delay could lead to spontaneous demonstrating across the country”, the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has scored the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy a 100%.

According to him, the impact of the policy on Ghana’s agricultural sector has been astounding and he’s hopeful the policy will continue yielding phenomenal results in the coming years.

Speaking on an earlier edition of JoyNews’ PM Express in June this year, the Minister stated that the impact of the policy on the attitude of Ghanaians toward farming and agriculture, in general, is immeasurable.

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