Dr. Afriyie Akoto was briefing journalists following a stakeholder meeting with local fertilizer producers on the production and promotion of quality organic fertilizers nationally in Accra on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
He attributed the “acute shortage” of agrochemicals in general, and fertilizers in particular, to the war between Russia and Ukraine, amid international sanctions against Russia.
These developments, he said, were breaking the fertilizer supply chain and making global trade very difficult, and Ghana was no exception.
“In a catastrophic situation, you have to know how to adapt and come out stronger. We therefore believe that we must encourage the production of quality organic fertilizers at the national level“, he said.
He noted that from January to May this year, there was a sharp drop in the amount of fertilizer distributed to farmers in this country, and lamented that “this is nothing out of the ordinary.
However, Dr. Afriyie Akoto believed that as a result of the above challenge, a significant amount of organic fertilizer production was possible in the country.
“We will be working closely with local organic fertilizer producers to see how we maximize your businesses to help us close the fertilizer gap, if not completely then at least we are making the effort to meet a higher percentage of the fertilizer needs. fertilizer“, he assured.
He urged local organic fertilizer producers to seize the opportunities presented by the government to increase production to meet the fertilizer needs of the farming population.
“We are ready to work with you with our extension agents. We have the ability to teach farmers how to adopt and apply these organic fertilizers. And given the opportunity there, I think you can provide more“, he said confidently.
He also encouraged local producers to convince their foreign partners to come and set up fertilizer factories in the country.
Furthermore, Dr. Afriyie Akoto said that Ghana is full of raw materials for fertilization including waste and wildlife.
He applauded the efforts of Zoomlion Ghana Limited for investing heavily in using waste to produce organic fertilizers.
The demand for fertilizer in Ghana, he said, was about 600,000 metric tons.
“And so far this year, we haven’t even reached 100,000 metric tons. So we are way off“, he lamented.
…We actively seek solutions to ensure farmers receive the right chemicals,” he said.
According to the Minister, the essence of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) is essentially to increase agricultural productivity, especially in small farms.
“And I believe we have had great success with this program over the last 5 years that I have been in charge of the ministry targeting fertilizers and improved seeds to distribute to farmers.,” he said.
He said the Russian-Ukrainian war has put the global fertilizer supply chain “severely limiting” the PFJ program and depriving more farmers of the benefits of modern seed and fertilizer technology.
He said that over the past three or four years his company had had a “good extension service”, adding that this had led to a high government subsidy on fertilizers.
“At the height of 2020, we had 1.6 million farmers in the program, which is only less than half of our farming population in Ghana. But it has had an impact despite all the attempts of our adversaries to put a stop to the achievements this government has made in agriculture..
The Managing Director of Accra Composting and Recycling Plant (ACARP), Mr. Michael Padi Tuwor, who was present and spoke to the media on the sidelines of the meeting, described the engagement with the Minister as “very fruitful”.
He said that as an investor he now had a clear understanding of the market, calling for more stakeholder engagement with MoFA.
Responding to the question of whether there was unhealthy competition among industry players, he said: “Competition must always be expected, and it must be healthy for the common good of the country.”
Still on the issue of counterfeit products in the market, Mr. Tuwor suggested that there should be a baseline or standard that products must conform to before being sent to market.
“When done, it will help to check for imitations or fake products in the market,” he advised.
To this end, he encouraged industry stakeholders to work together to produce to meet the national fertilizer requirement of 600,000 metric tons.