PFAG urges farmers to use organic fertilizers following high cost of chemical fertilizers

By: Joyce Kantam Kolamong

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, PFAG, has called on farmers to resort to the use of organic fertilizers to increase food productivity.

Access to chemical fertilizer is increasingly becoming very difficult and expensive as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia Ukraine war.

Regional Desk Officer, Planting for Food and Jobs who doubles as the Regional Crop Officer, Dauda Abdul Salam said this on the sidelines of a meeting organized by PFAG to sensitize farmers on the use of organic fertilizers and modalities for the PFJ programme in Tamale.

Farmers across the country are struggling with challenges which if not addressed promptly will threaten food security in the country.

The disruptions in global supply chains caused by the COVID pandemic, the Russian-Ukraine war as well as soaring cost of fuel has triggered a dramatic spike in the price of fertilizer.

The cost of 50kg of NPK fertilizer in 2021 of GHS160.00 increased to GHS 400.00 in 2022 and Urea increased from GHS150.00 to GHS450.00 during the same period.

In addition, the cost of agro-inputs such as pesticides, herbicides, seeds and mechanization equipment have not fallen following the supply chain bottlenecks created by COVID-19.

The support provided by the government has been inadequate, the subsidy component as well as the quantity of fertilizer supplied under the planting for food and jobs programme has reduced.

Many farmers have had to reduce their scale of production or cut down cost by removing crucial inputs like fertilizer from the production equation. There are also some farmers who have had to abandon their farming activities all together this season.

The cumulative effect is the shortage in food supply, high cost of locally produced foods, and the consequent closure of some agro-based industries due to difficulty in accessing raw materials.

The global food security index indicates that the country has dropped from 78th position to 82nd on the food security outlook and food inflation is at an all-time high of over 30 percent.

PFAG urges farmers to use organic fertilizers following high cost of chemical fertilizersAccording to PFAG, while it appreciates the global situation causing these challenges, it believes that it is a perfect opportunity for the government to restructure the agricultural sector and ensure that future shocks do not have a crippling effect on the sector and the economy at large.

The Regional Desk Officer, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Dauda Abdul Salam, said PFAG appreciates government’s efforts to curb the challenges with rising cost of inorganic fertilizer by increasing the quantity of organic fertilizer under the PFJ programme.

He underscored the enormous benefits organic fertilizer has over inorganic ones and encouraged farmers to its use.

Mr. Abdul-Salam, revealed that the government has increased the quantity of fertilizer from 25kg of 20 bags in 2011 to 28 bags of 25kg this year.

This is to give farmers who are using hybrid seeds, the right and maximum amount of fertilizers for their crops. He said modalities for this year season has been made easier and accessible and advised farmers to get to the various outlets for their inputs.

According to the PFJ Focal Person, the introduction of a biometric device used this year to sell fertilizers has made it easier and convenient for farmers to purchase fertilizers. The initiative dubbed “fertilizer redemption”, which involves fingerprint, has made fertilizer smuggling in the Northern region a thing of the past.

The PFAG, with funding from International Budget Partnership (IBP) is partnering the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to increase awareness of farmers and other stakeholders on the implementation modalities for the 2022 season and the focus on organic fertilizers.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Time for farmers everywhere to: -begin to use non hybrid seeds
    -reduce chemical fertilisers
    -start using home made composts and animal manures
    -start using straw and other materials as mulch.
    – join La Via Campesina.

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