‘Expedite action on Plant and Fertiliser Fund’

BY: Ken Osei Mintah

The Northern Branch of Ghana Agro-Input Association (GAIDA), a national body of agricultural input dealers, has called on the government to expedite action to make the Plant and Fertiliser Fund operational.

The Northern Regional Secretary of GAIDA, Mr Mohammad Mahamud, made the call at a stakeholders workshop held in Accra last Thursday.

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The workshop was attended by the executives and other members of GAIDA, a representative from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the media and other interest groups.

The Plant and Fertiliser Fund, will finance research and investigations relating to fertiliser use in the country.

Mr Mahamud said the Plant and Fertiliser Fund when fully functional would curb the problems farmers were facing due to the adulteration of fertiliser.


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He explained that the call had become necessary due to the concerns raised by farmers in the Northern Region, with regards to the effectiveness of some fertilisers sold to them.

“The farmers are complaining about the poor quality of some of fertiliser and have threatened to halt crop production if nothing is done about it,” he said.

Food Production

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Mr Mahamud emphasised that the Plant and Fertilizer Fund would also ensure sustainable food production in the country, since farmers would have quality fertilisers to aid them in growing their crops.

“If the government translates its commitment and willingness in ensuring that the Plant and Fertiliser Fund is functional, the country would maximize its food productivity,” he said.

In addition, he said, the fund, through research, would among other things, see to it that fertilisers in the country were of the highest quality and gave farmers the utmost outcome.

Assurance

The Head of Fertiliser and Analytical Unit of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Directorate (PPRSD) under MoFA, Mr Ernest Osei-Assibey, explained that the Plant and Fertiliser fund was still a work in progress and that the government would ensure that it became operational next year.

He said the government was aware that farmers were not able to get access to quality fertilisers partly because of the high cost involved and which consequently had contributed to the decline in fertiliser application in the country.  

“The rate of fertiliser application in Ghana is very low and hovers around 14 to 15kg per hectare, when other countries are utilising about 50kg of the plant food per hectare.

“In a bid to reverse the situation, the government is subsidising the cost of fertilisers for farmers,” he said.

Mr Osei-Assibey said data on the soils on which farmers were working, was outdated. Under the circumstances he said his outfit was collaborating with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to develop soil sustainability maps that would give insight on the type of soil conditions that favoured the cultivation of food crops.

“The ministry’s intervention with regards to agro-inputs is to ensure that farmers have access to products that are of good quality,” he said.