The dashboard, a platform to provide key fertiliser information gaps, data to help policy and investment decisions in the sector has been launched.
The user friendly and interactiveVisualising Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture (VIFAA) dashboard seeks to address a number of challenges in the fertilizer industry in Ghana.
It is expected to be a one-stop hub for up-to-date and comprehensive fertiliser data available to meet the needs of stakeholders.
Developed by the Development Gateway in collaboration with the African Fertiliser.org initiative of the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC), the goal of the dashboard is to help fertiliser industry actors respond appropriately to changes in the market.
This is to ensure that sufficient and appropriate information reached policy makers and other stakeholders like farmers for timely cultivation.
Launching the platform in Accra Wednesday, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru said the government would use the data on the dashboard to inform current and future subsidy policy efforts, to benefit all farmers considering the changing conditions in the fertilizer sector.
According to him, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) brought “a fresh set of challenges,” none the world had ever faced before, resulting in a reduction of fertilizer production globally.
As a result, he said, the effects of the pandemic led to high international pricing leading to a shortage of fertilizer to farmers during the planting season.
“Data is crucial now more than ever to inform the government, private sector and development sector to navigate the negative effects of Covid-19 on the supply of fertilizer.
“As a mitigation effect, the government is also currently working on constructing fertilizer plants to take advantage of the net surplus of gas needed for urea production in Ghana,” he revealed.
Ghana’s food crops subsector, he said was dominated by smallholder farmers whose cropping practices are characterised by low use of quality seeds and fertilizers, hence the need for quality data to augment their output.
The Country Representative of West Africa Fertilizer Association (WAFA), Dominic Donkoh, said the association understood the need to have trustworthy data on all aspects of the sector, and “we have done our part to contribute to the data validation discussions each year, knowing that it is a benefit for all of us.”
He added that they remained committed to a more up to date data from price to consumption.
MrDonkoh said they would work with members to make more data available for better planning and decision-making to benefit farmers.
“WAFA has also been a key partner in the VIFAA Programme from the outset, joining other esteemed stakeholders in this room at the various workshops and feedback sessions to ensure that the dashboard meets the needs of our members,” he added.
Director of Crop Services, Seth Osei Akoto, bemoaned the menace of fertilizer smuggling in the country and said “we have been taking measures to reduce it. With the help of all stakeholders, we can reduce this issue to the barest minimum.”