Dr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, Head of Programmes and Advocacy, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), says the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the economic sanctions on Russia are likely to worsen fertilizer shortage in the country.
The situation, he said, would adversely affect agriculture production if the government failed to take urgent contingency plans to secure enough fertiliser for farmers.
“We are foreseeing that the fertilizer shortage we experienced in 2021 is likely to escalate this year because already the subsidised fertiliser price for the 25kg which was GH₵53.00 in 2021 is GH₵160.00 today. We know that most countries where fertilizer is manufactured get their natural gas from Russia and those countries have already placed economic bans on Russia, which means that the situation is going to be worse,” he stressed.
Dr Nyaaba expressed these concerns in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a gender sensitization workshop organized by PFAG with support from the International Budget Partnership for women peasant farmers in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region.
In 2021, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many fertilizer producing countries like China and Russia could not produce at full capacity, forcing the international market price to increase with a heavy toll on food production and the implementation of the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme, he said.
Dr Nyaaba noted that most of the farmers under the fertilizer subsidy programme were vulnerable such as women, youth and persons with disability and the government needed to pay fertilizer import companies to enable them to secure enough fertilizer before the heat of the sanctions were felt.
“Government needs to encourage companies which are producing organic fertilizer to increase production because we need to start shifting from inorganic fertilizer to organic fertilizer because of the benefits and this will also afford farmers alternatives in case we are unable to get the inorganic fertilizer,” he said.
He said apart from the government needing to put measures in place to support farmers to adopt composting as means of fertilizing farms, farmers needed to produce local crops which did not need much fertilizer to ensure good yields.
“We need to begin to promote our own staple foods such as millet, guinea corn, sorghum, groundnuts, yam, cassava, ‘frafra potato’, plantain, nuts among others, these crops do not require too much fertilizer,” he added.