The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has inaugurated a seven-member governing board of the National Fertiliser Council to oversee the quality of fertilisers and their distribution to farmers in the country.
The council, chaired by the President’s Nominee, Nana Serwah Bonsu Amoako, is also to oversee the importation of fertilisers into the country amid the global fertiliser crisis.
Other members of the council are Eric Bentsil Quaye, Ag. Director, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA); Seth Osei-Akoto, Director of Crop Services, MoFA; Dr Edward Yeboah, Director-General of CSIR; Danquah Addo-Yobo, Managing Director of YARA Ghana; John Awuku Dziwornu, National Farmers' Association, and Ebenezer Appiah-Sampong, Environmental Protection Agency.
Dr Akoto charged the council to, among others, find medium and long-term solutions to the recent fertiliser crisis by working effectively to promote the production and use of local organic fertiliser by farmers.
He explained that the country did not produce any fertiliser and as a result relied wholly on imports.
“The country currently does not produce one kilogramme of fertiliser and as a result we entirely rely on imports. I am urging you to work effectively to enable the production and education of organic fertilisers,” he said.
The minister indicated that there was a huge demand gap to be filled to meet set targets by the ECOWAS at 50 kilogrammes per hectare.
“In 2017, the average application of fertiliser by farmers was only eight kilogrammes per hectare and in the space of five years managed to push it up to 25 kilogrammes per hectare, but this is not enough since the world average application of fertiliser is 130 kilogrammes per hectare,” Dr Akoto added.
He said MoFA was working to attract foreign investment to exploit gas and fertiliser, since gas was the major input for fertiliser production.
Speaking on behalf of the council, Ms Amoako reiterated that the country was experiencing external shocks in the fertiliser sector, mainly due to COVID-19 crisis and the increase in petroleum prices on the global market.
“This means that we need to find medium to long-term solutions to the crisis, we were about seeing a gradual slowdown of the prices until the Russia invasion into Ukraine happened, and because a lot of fertilisers are sourced from Ukraine and Russia,” she said.
Ms Amoako pledged the council’s commitment to promote the use of local organic fertiliser and reorient farmers to use local organic fertilisers.
She noted that plans were far advanced to set up a fertiliser manufacturing plant as part of measures to stop the shortage of the product.
“A key pillar under the Ghana Fertiliser Expansion Programme is to industrialise the fertiliser sector, by using our natural gas resources to build the first fertiliser manufacturing plant in Ghana. I am again pleased to mention that we have advanced in our quest to achieve this vision,” she stated.
She explained that all the preparatory work and detailed feasibility studies had been completed together with our private investors.
“We are set to cut the sod for the construction of the fertiliser manufacturing plant in the coming months,” Mr Amoako said.