The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, promote and strengthen Ghanaian farmers’ use of organic fertilizer.
This would help the farmers, especially the peasant farmers, to produce to feed the nation
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II pointed out that access to chemical fertilizer was increasingly becoming very difficult and expensive as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which were major producers and exporters of chemical fertilizers.
It was, therefore, important for the government to support farmers to get used to organic fertilizers as they could not continue to rely on chemical fertilizers amid difficulties in accessing them.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu made the call in an address read for him at the annual general meeting of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) in Kumasi.
The meeting was held on the theme: “Building Back Better, Consolidating the Gains of Smallholder Farmers for Improved Food Systems.”
The Asantehene said the Russian and Ukrainian crisis posed a threat to global food security given the high cost of fertilizers, fuel and other necessities produced from that part of the world.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu called on the government to pay attention to peasant farmers since they were very critical in improving the country’s food systems.
He said smallholder farmers in the country played a significant role during the coronavirus pandemic and global geo-politics, which had put a strain on all economies worldwide.
“Peasant farmers have held the fort in providing food for you and they continue to do so even in these challenging times.
High cost of inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, high fuel prices, continuous reliance on rain-fed agriculture infrastructure, have consistently impacted heavily on our food systems and smallholder farmers have not been spared,” he emphasized.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu called on the Ministry of Finance to allocate more resources to develop industries, adding that Ghana could not develop with the current approach of exporting raw materials and importation of finished goods.
“We should learn from China and Israel. Why should we be importing rice, and rather exporting raw cashew nuts and raw cocoa,” the King quizzed.
He said it was time the government ventured into the irrigation of more dams across the country to ensure all-year-round food production.
He urged the farmers to work together to improve the food systems in Ghana.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the government was working to address issues confronting farmers, especially smallholder farmers.
The government was building more warehouses across the country, selected some dams for rehabilitation while stringent measures were being implemented to curb fertilizer smuggling.
Dr Afriyie Akoto mentioned that the government would increase investment in the fertiliser subsidy programme, which was very essential input for farmers but in short supply due to global factors.
The government was, therefore, assessing the possibility of setting up local fertilizer plants in some parts of the country to meet demand.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said the government was working to support the local production of organic fertilizer and promote sustainable agriculture, which was economically prudent, environmentally friendly, gender-sensitive and climate-resilient.
Mr Wepia Awal Adugwala, the Board Chairman of PFAG, called on the government to speed up work on selected dams earmarked for rebuilding and expansion.
This, he believed, would make water available for all year farming and domestic activities.
By Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA