The supply of NPK fertiliser to farmers in the Bono East Region under the government's flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme declined by 79 per cent between the period of June 2021 and June 2022.
Disclosing this, the Bono East Regional Director of Agriculture, Mrs Cecilia Kagya-Agyemang, said the region had not received a single bag of Urea in 2022.
She said available figures indicated that as of June 2021, the region had received 8,176,275 tonnes of NPK and 1,637,725 tonnes of Urea under the initiative.
Mrs Kagya-Agyemang explained that as of December 2021, the supply had increased to 14,181,975 tonnes of NPK fertiliser and 2,580.7 tonnes of Urea.
However, in June 2022, the region received only 150 tonnes of NPK without a single bag of Urea.
Grow Ghana Initiative
Mrs Kagya-Agyemang made the disclosure at an event to showcase the last mile component of the Grow Ghana Initiative in Techiman on the theme: “Strengthening Last-Mile Distribution of Input for Resilience and Food Security in Ghana”.
On August 15, 2022, Yara Ghana launched the Grow Ghana Initiative in Techiman with a total of 360,000 of 50-kilogramme bags of Yara Mila Actyva to be distributed to farmers free of charge at all Yara distribution points across the country.
It is estimated that 100,000 productive smallholder farmers will benefit from the package to assist in enhancing the country’s food security.
As part of the initiative, Yara is expected to provide technical support to farmers and agric- Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and further deepen extension systems in Ghana to increase farmer productivity.
The initiative is being implemented by African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Decline in soil fertility
Mrs Kagya-Agyemang said fertiliser usage was a topmost priority to farmers in the region because of the decline in soil fertility in the area.
“The fact that majority of the populace are into crop farming, coupled with the decline in soil fertility in the region makes fertiliser usage a topmost priority to farmers and any issue that affects the availability, accessibility and affordability of fertiliser possess a huge challenge to farming in the region,” she stated.
Mrs Kagya-Agyemang said to mitigate the limited availability of fertiliser, the government was promoting the use of organic fertiliser and the adoption of improved technologies to increase the yield of farmers.
The Chief Executive Officer of the North Gate Enterprise, Elizabeth Dwamena, said this year had been challenging for farmers as well as agro dealers due to hikes in the prices of fertiliser, other inputs and the cost of transportation.
Mrs Dwamena said farmers had to pay double the price for the same bags of fertiliser they purchased last year, saying, "farmers are reducing the sizes of their farms which threatens food security".
She said the Grow Ghana Initiative was to ensure that farmers could access the much-needed fertiliser and thanked YARA, the USAID, AGRA and AFAP for implementing the good cause of agricultural transformation.
In a speech read for him, the Bono East Regional Minister, Kwasi Adu-Gyan, said the region was blessed with agriculture and agribusinesss activities such as the production, processing, distribution and marketing of agricultural produce and inputs.
He said the initiatives would ensure that their farmers had access to enough inputs to sustain cultivation across the region for the rest of the year to boost their yields, increase their income levels and improve their livelihood.
Mr Adu-Gyan said the Regional Coordinating Council would monitor the initiatives with keen interest and anybody who tried to cheat would be arrested to face the full rigours of the law.
For her part, the Mission Director of the USAID, Kimberly Rosen, said since 2010, the United States Government had provided more than $425 million to support Ghanaian farmers, particularly those in the northern part of the country to adopt new techniques, take advantage of new efficiencies and access global markets.
She said the US government formally kicked off delivery of a $2.5 million initiative through USAID to ensure that 100,000 smallholder farmers in the country received affordable fertiliser for this planting season.
Ms Rosen expressed the hope that the support would help productive Ghanaian farmers shore up the nation’s food security in the light of global food security concerns caused by the Russia-Ukraine War.
She said USAID was also working with Yara and other partners to help supply 360,000 bags of Yara Mila Actyva fertiliser that would help reduce the cost of inputs of smallholder farmers by one-third.