November 19, 2021

Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Akoto Afriyie has assured Parliament that tractors and accessories at the Agriculture Engineering Service Directorate are being cared for and have not been left at the mercy of the weather.

This came to light when Member of Parliament for Ejura-Sekyedumase, Muhammad Bawah Braimah wanted to know why hundreds of Cabrio tractors and motorbikes imported over two years have been left at the mercy of the weather.

Dr. Afriyie reiterated to the House that, as part of efforts by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to improve access to mechanized services through the mechanization module of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, a range of tractors and handheld equipment were imported from Czech Republic under a 10 million Euro from Exim Bank facility in 2019/2020.

“The equipment are on sale to interested farmers at a government subsidized rate of 40% with a specified terms of sale of outright payment. In total 220 Cabrio compact tractors were imported by the Ministry.

So far, only 10 of the 220 tractors had been purchased by interested farmers leaving a total of 210 Cabrio tractors.

The slow patronage of the tractors thus far is due to the policy of outright payment governing the sale of the facilities. The strict enforcement of the policy by the Ministry is because of a high rate of default in the payments of tractors by beneficiaries under a hire purchase policy in the past.

The Ministry has now identified rice farmer groups in the valleys of several forest regions and we are arranging to distribute the Cabrio tractors to them on credit instead of to individual farmers, he stated.

On the question of motorbikes, the Ministry currently has only seven (7) motorbikes in stock out of a total of three thousand (3,000) procured.

“Mr. Speaker, the motorbikes were procured under the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) sponsored by Canadian Government.

 The procurement constitutes part of Government strategy to enhance Extension Service delivery to farmers and other shareholders in the regions, Out of the Three Thousand (3,000) motorbikes, Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Three (2,993) have been deployed to the regions. The distribution was done from June 2019 to August 2021 leaving seven (7).

The remaining 7 motorbikes will be distributed to the National directorates to facilitate work. It is expected that the distribution will be completed by the end of the year.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/