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Seed producers petition over unpaid PFJ supplies

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto

Seed producers who supplied seeds to the government in 2021 under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative have petitioned the National Seed Council for payment.

In a petition issued by the Executive Council of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) on June 1, 2022, the President of the association, Kwabena Adu–Gyamfi, said “Six months into the year 2022, companies that supplied seeds for the year 2021 have not received any payments or intentions of payment.”

He said due to the government’s indebtedness to the seed producing companies, the companies are struggling to mobilise resources to enable them fulfil their obligations of supplying seeds to farmers in support of the PFJ Programme.

“We have been informed that the Ministry of Finance has released some funds for the payment of fertilizer,” he said, adding “However, we have not heard of any consideration for seeds supplied in 2021 under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.”

For Mr Adu–Gyamfi, about 95 per cent of seed suppliers are locals with very tight financing, saying the outstanding indebtedness since 2021 implies that the real value of our seeds supplied has already been seriously diminished and any further delay will inflict a further dent on our ability to service our huge outstanding loans.

He expressed the concern that with the cost of production rapidly escalating on daily basis, the further delay of “our payments threatens to reverse the recent advances in seed sector investments which PFJ itself has facilitated.”
Below is the statement

PETITION BY NASTAG AND ITS MEMBERSHIP

On behalf of the Executive Council and the entire membership of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), all other seed producers /companies in Ghana and my own behalf, I kindly share with you our petition for your intervention.

Mr. Chairman, we wish to express our concerns through you to the Honourable Minister on the undue delay in the payment of the seed supplied for the year 2021 under the initiative Planting for Food and Jobs.

Six months into the year 2022, companies that supplied seeds for the year 2021 have not received any payments or intentions of payment. This notwithstanding and in the interest of our country, seed producers and companies are still struggling to mobilize resources to enable them fulfil their obligations of supplying seeds to farmers in support of the PFJ Programme. We have been informed that the Ministry of Finance has released some funds for the payment of fertilizer. However, we have not heard of any consideration for seeds supplied in 2021 under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

Much as we commend government for the attending to the payment of inputs into the PFJ programme, we wish to remind that fertilizer acts on good seeds for to be able to influence crop performance and therefore seed should never take a second position in the order of priorities. We wish to implore government to immediately release funds for the full cost of seed supplied in 2021 for these reasons:

1. About 95% of seed suppliers are locals with very tight financing but nevertheless with a potential to make an impact on the local economy.

2. The outstanding indebtedness since 2021 implies that, the real value of our seeds supplied has already been seriously diminished and any further delay will inflict a further dent on our ability to service our huge outstanding loans.

3. With the cost of production rapidly escalating on daily basis, the further delay of our payments threatens to reverse the recent advances in seed sector investments which PFJ itself has facilitated.

We consider our collaboration with Government very crucial and expect that government will reciprocate the same gesture to allow a healthy working relationship.

It is our expectation therefore that, your intervention on this matter will yield the desired results; ensuring that seed companies receive their full payments within the shortest possible time. Seed demand for the season is at its peak now and we intend to support farmers with their seed needs. Your rapid action therefore will empower us and restore our ability to meet the full expectation of the hard-working Ghanaian farmers.

We sincerely count on your support, as always.

Warm Regards,

Kwabena Adu – Gyamfi, President-NASTAG