Paying our arrears to prevent food security crisis – National Seed Trade Association tells Ministry of Finance

The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) has requested the Ministry of Finance to pay the sums owed to it.

According to the Association, if this is not done, the country could experience a worsening food security situation and a possible collapse of the government’s flagship program, Planting for Food and Jobs.

In a statement signed by the president of NASTAG, the Association said that for the past two years it has been compelled to offer sacrificial services to the government, despite the unavailability of funds.

This, the Association said, can no longer continue, hence the need for the government to honor all of its financial obligations to them.

“The food security situation could worsen as most of these small producers are likely to abandon their fields. Over 40,000 smallholder farmers are directly or indirectly affected by the unduly delayed payment and are likely to affect over 700,000 other smallholder farmers who depend on local seed growers for seed and sponsorship to produce their grain .

The current increase in food prices could worsen in the coming months and next year if something imminent is not done for the payment of this debt.

The northern sector is at the height of its season while the southern sector is entering the short rainy season. With immediate payments, farmers could still produce sufficient quantities of various seeds for the 2023 planting season and reduce food prices in the country,” the statement read.

The Association also warned that “any further delay in payment would mean low local food production, with high import dependency with a growing exchange rate between the Ghanaian Cedi and major global currencies (e.g. US Dollar). Chinese Yuan, European Euro and British Pounds).

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

“We therefore hope that your intervention on this issue will yield the desired results; ensure that seed companies receive their full payments by the end of September 2022.

While hoping for a positive response as soon as possible, NASTAG management has done enough to contain several calls for public unrest from members and they should not be blamed as any further delay could lead to spontaneous protests at across the country,” the statement concluded. .

Meanwhile, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, gave 100% rating to the government’s Plantation for Food and Employment Policy.

According to him, the impact of the policy on Ghana’s agricultural sector has been staggering and he hopes the policy will continue to yield phenomenal results in the years to come.

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

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