National Fertilizer Council Board inaugurated

National Fertilizer Council Board inaugurated
National Fertilizer Council Board inaugurated

Africa-Press – Ghana. Accra, March 24- A seven-member board of the newly established National Fertilizer Council has been inaugurated in Accra. The board, chaired by Ms Nana Serwah Bonsu Amoako, Special Advisor, Ghana Fertilizer Expansion Programme at the Office of the President, has Mr Bentsil Quaye, the Acting Director, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) and Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, the Director, Directorate of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as members.

The rest are; Dr Edward Yeboah, the Director-General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research — Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), Mr Danquah Addo-Yobo, Representative from Yara Ghana, Fertilizer Manufacturers and Importers, Mr John Awuku Dziwornu from National Farmers’ Association and Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sampong from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Swearing in the members of the board in, Accra, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) tasked them to initiate medium term measures to mitigate the plight of farmers brought by fertilizer shortage on the world market.

Prices of fertilizer on the global market have been at a record high since the turn of the year. Russia which accounts for around 14 per cent of global fertilizer exports, has temporarily suspended outgoing trade since its invasion of Ukraine in early February this year, exacerbating the situation.

Dr Akoto said, government’s effort in terms of transforming the country’s agriculture depended largely on the use of fertilizer and improved seed. He said, since it assumed office in 2017, Government had increased the average fertilizer application by Ghanaian farmers to about 25kg per hectare from an 8kg per hectare in 2016.

Despite this, Dr Akoto said, more needed to be done if the country was to achieve the ECOWAS’ target of 50kg per hectare, as well as the world average of 130kg per hectare.

“So although we have made a lot of efforts in bringing up the average application of fertilizer, we are still very far away from either the West African target of 50kg per hectare. We are only half of that,” he said.

Dr Akoto said the current volatility of fertilizer on the world market made it the more important for Ghana to have a fertilizer manufacturing plant to reduce its over-reliance on global supply and ensure food security.

He said, the Ministry was working with relevant agencies and private companies to fast track the construction of the fertilizer manufacturing plant for the country.

“We have done that in collaboration with OCP, which is the fertilizer company of Morocco. We’ve had a whole series of meetings and workshops and a lot of interactions and we have been talking to private companies, banks and so on.

“We should be able to attract the right investment to start the construction of a fertilizer plant in Ghana,” he said. He urged the board of the Fertilizer Council to expedite processes towards the realisation of this goal to find a long-term solution to the problem.

Nana Amoako, Chairperson of the board, assured that plans were far advance for the construction of a fertilizer plant to mitigate any future global fertilizer shortage.

She said as the Special Advisor of the Ghana Fertilizer Expanded Programme, she and other members of the board were not oblivious to the current challenges in the fertilizer sector.

The steep rise in global fertilizer price and global shortage of fertilizers have certainly had a knock-on effect in fertilizer distribution and availability under the National Subsidy Programme, she said.

“The task of this council will, therefore, be to work with the Honorable Minister to find medium to long term sustainable solutions to help our farmers,” she said, adding that: “We will first work with the Ministry to implement its strategy to mitigate the current fertilizer crisis by promoting the use of organic fertilizers, including local poultry manure, which is cheaper and of equal quality.”

In the long term, she said the board would continue to forge to begin the construction of home-grown world scale fertilizer manufacturing plant, to alleviate the burden of succumbing to global fertilizer price shocks.

“Our local fertilizer manufacturing plant will ensure the availability of high quality affordable and accessible fertilizers to our local farmers; thereby ensuring long term food security. We will also continue to promote sustainable production and use of organic fertilizers”. She urged the members to work together to realise the board’s targets.

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