No specific policy on organic agric –Research findings

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Agriculture

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Agriculture

In spite of the declaration by the African Union for all member countries to mainstream Ecological Organic Agriculture practices into national policies, Ghana is yet to develop a specific policy on organic agriculture.

A research conducted by the Coalition for the Advancement of Organic Farming (CAOF), a non-governmental organisation has revealed that the research findings which were made known at separate sensitisation forums in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions also pointed out that the current government policies and plans such as the, Planting for Food and Jobs, One District One Factory, One Village, One Dam, among others failed to prominently feature organic agriculture especially in terms of inputs support and certification.

The research also revealed that organic agricultural practices in Ghana was considered to be mainly farmer and private sector initiative with no full-scale support from the government.

The CAOF which has a membership of 17 non-governmental organisations working closely with farmers in Ghana to promote organic farming in the country conducted the research on “The extent to which organic agriculture has been considered in current government’s agriculture policies and programmes in Ghana under the appropriate inputs and certification for organic farming project,” in some selected districts in the Upper East and Northern regions.

The research was conducted in the Bongo District, Bolgatanga Municipal, Nabdam District, Talensi District, Bulisa South District, Bulisa North District, Garu/Tempane District, Binduri District, KasenaNankana East District and Navrongo Municipality in the Upper East Region.

Others were the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District, Tamale Metropolis, East and West Mamprusi Districts and the Gushiegu/Karaga District in the Northern Region.

Funded by the the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge  (BUSAC) Fund and its development partners DANIDA, European Union and USAID, the research also  established that even though Ghana in recent times has formulated and implemented some policies, plans and programmes, there was no specific consideration of organic agriculture in such policies, plans and programmes.

“The Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy and Medium-Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan lightly mentioned organic agriculture and recognised the need for Ghana to own a policy on Ecological Organic Agriculture.

“It is also significant to note that Ghana has not yet developed a specific policy or plan on organic agriculture despite the declaration by the African Union which requires all member countries to mainstream Ecological Organic Agriculture practices into national policies by 2025,” the research pointed out.

 

It added that since the launch of the fertiliser subsidy programme in 2008 by the government, it was only in the 2016 and 2017 farming seasons that smaller quantity of organic fertiliser was considered under the programme.

“In terms of the Fertiliser Subsidy Programme, there was evidence that pointed to the fact that fertiliser application among farmers increased from 8kg per hectare in 2008 to 12 kg per hectare in 2013. However it was only in the 2016 and 2017 farming seasons that smaller quantity of organic fertilizer was considered under the programme,” it stressed.

The research further noted that even though through a Food and Agriculture (FAO) funded project, an Organic Desk was established at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture responsible for spearheading organic agriculture related activities, there was no specific Organic Agriculture Desk at the Departments of Food and Agriculture in seven districts and two regional MOFA offices that the research contacted.

The Coordinator of CAOF, Mr Gerard Lapointe Agana explained that among the key objectives was to establish the extent to which organic agriculture had been considered in the government’s policies, plans and programmes on agriculture.

The Monitor of the BUSAC Fund, Mr Vincent Subbey in his contribution said the Coalition as a start, must embark on more sensitisation and education of the populace on the importance of organic agriculture which will lead to organic movement and grassroots-based organic food production, consumption and marketing using local organic market outlets.

FROM SAMUEL ADADI AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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