Bono East Agric Director bemoans shortage of fertilizer for farmers

The Bono East Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mrs. Cecilia Kaja Agyemang, has expressed worry about the shortage of fertilizers in the country for the 2022 crop season, saying “the situation is inimical to agricultural production in the region and Ghana as a whole.”

She stressed that the government would, therefore, have to take immediate steps to address the shortage if it wants to forestall famine in the near future.

The Regional Director made this known when speaking at the “Grow Ghana” initiative at the Bamiri community centre in Techiman.She said the Coronavirus Pandemic and the war in Ukraine have had a negative impact on the supply of fertilizers into the country, adding that “we as a country do not depend on ourselves for everything”.

Madam Kaja added that the challenges of limited fertilizers have led to a decline in cultivation, with concerns of poor crop productivity.

She said in the Bono East Region, the resilience of crop farming is directly linked to how farmers in the region appreciate the importance of fertilizer usage in farming.

“The relatively heavy reliance of fertilizers by farmers is attributed to the declined fertility of the soils due to continuous farming, as well as management of soils by our farmers.”

Madam Kaja was not happy that whereas in 2021 the Bono East Region received 14,000 metric tons of fertilizer, in 2022 it has received only 150 metric tons so far, a sharp decline of 79%, with no Urea supplied yet.

The Chief Director of the Bono East Regional Coordinating Council, Mr. George Padmore Mensah, who represented the Bono East Regional Minister, Kwasi Adu Gyan, expressed delight for the invitation to be part of the event.

According to Mr. Padmore, Yara Ghana in August 2022 launched the Grow Ghana initiative in Techiman, under which 360,000 of 50kg bags of Yara Mila Actyva will be available in free bags at all Yara distribution points for farmers free of charge.

According to him, it is estimated that 100,000 productive small holders’ farmers will benefit from the package to assist in enhancing the country’s food security.

He was happy that they are witnessing the last-mile component being showcased to support last-mile delivery of fertilizer inputs, provide technical support to farmers and Agric-SMEs and further deepen extension systems in Ghana to increase farmer productivity.

Head of Mission for United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for Ghana, Madam Kimberly Rosen, in her address said a lot of crises threaten to push Ghanaians into hunger.She said food and fertilizer prices are already high because of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the prices have soared even higher because of the Russia war against Ukraine, adding that “With sub-Saharan Africa the hardest hit, we know, puts many families at risk”.According to madam Kimberly Rosen, that is the reason why the United States government’s flagship food security program, Feed the Future, is working with private sector development and government partners to address these challenges.

She said these programs increase investments that will support the resilience of smallholder farmers, including women, through access to improved agricultural technologies and inputs like fertilizer, financing and markets.

She added that the United States government recently announced an additional USD 2.5 million to its Agent for International Development the Ghana chapter’s annual budget and that has provided them the opportunity to strengthen and deepen their food security initiatives especially on fertilizers and inputs for smallholder farmers in Ghana.

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