Govt to make available enough fertilisers – Dr Akoto

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, DrOwusuAfriyieAkoto, has given the assurance that government would make available enough fertilisers for farming or cropping this year.

He said government was taking steps to avert the shortage of fertiliser that hit the country last year.

But briefing Parliament on steps taken to avert the situation in response to a question asked of him by Dr Kingsley Nyarko, the minister assured that there would be enough fertilisers for agricultural activities this year. 

The minister said “Government has taken major steps to ensure local production of fertiliser and to gradually shift farmers to the use of organic fertiliser which is here.

“Frantic efforts are also being made to attract a multi-billion investment in fertiliser manufacturing plant which will rely on surplus gas produced through offshore oil and gas exploration for production.” 

DrAfriyie said “The government is also collaborating with OCP group of companies, a Morrocan conglomerate, to map shores in Ghana according to their nutrient and chemical composition.” 

He said to eliminate any possible abuse of subsidised fertilisers, a farmer database has been developed with biometric information and a feature to track fertilisers and their usage.

According to him, 1.2 million farmers across all regions in the northern belt of the country have been captured unto the data system with three million more farmers from the southern belt expected on it “as soon as practicable.”

The database, the minister said, would ensure proper targeting of farmers in fertiliser and seed subsidy distribution to prevent smuggling. 

DrOwusu said the effect of COVID-19 affected the agricultural sector and that government would formulate policies to enhance productivity. 

He said application of organic fertiliser which would be the focus of local production, has become more apparent if Ghanaian farmers were to cultivate healthier food stuff. 

“Spike in the price of fertiliser since the outbreak of the pandemic some 18 months ago has shown us the urgency in ensuring that we cultivate the habit of applying organic fertiliser on our farms.

“We have laid down a programme with our extension service officers to encourage farmers to use organic fertilisers on their farms,” DrAkotosaid.

The minister said he was of the expectation that in the next two years, farmers would imbibe the use of organic fertilisers because “farmers are conservative in adopting new methods.”

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI


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