The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has pleaded with the government to settle its debt owed fertilizer producers to avoid fertilizer shortages in Ghana.
The Association revealed that the Government always gives a contract to private organizations to purchase fertilizers; supply them to farmers; and pay them at a later date. However, most of these private companies have not been paid by the Government, hence, denying them the opportunity to scout and stock enough fertilizer for farmers to purchase. There are looming fertilizer shortages in Ghana, if these suppliers do not get paid.
Dr. Nyaaba, the President of the Peasant Farmers Association, disclosed in an interview that fertilizer prices keep increasing by the day, adding that some farmers cannot even access these fertilizers. He, therefore, made a plea to the government of Ghana to quickly settle any debt owed to fertilizer producers so they can quickly scout and stock as many fertilizer bags before things get out of hand.
Dr. Nyaaba explained further that China has indicated that they are not going to export fertilizer to other countries because they have under production and want to attend to their farmers first. “We need to position ourselves first, if not, what happened in 2021 is likely to be worse in 2022,” he noted.
Dr. Nyaaba explained that the main reason there is a rise in almost all the fertilizer commodities is a result of farmers not getting fertilizer in high quantities. He lamented that a 50kg bag of maize is sold between 150 to 180 Cedis, but the same thing could be bought at 80 Cedis last year. He expounded further that the price of almost every commodity fertilizer is applied on has increased greatly.
Adding to the contribution, farmers in the Assin North District, in an interview also pleaded with the Government to quickly pay every debt it owes fertilizer producers so they can have fertilizer for their farming operations.
“We heard that the government owes the people that produce fertilizer that is why fertilizer, prices have gone up and are in short supply. We are pleading with the government to quickly settle all its debt so we can have fertilizer.”Spokesperson, Farmers in Assin North District
Support local fertilizer producers
The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana, adding to the discussion revealed that Ghana is blessed with some local fertilizer producers and can do more with the push from the government.
The Chamber advised the Government to support local fertilizer producers like Omnifert Limited, a wholly-owned Ghanaian manufacturing company at Dawhenya, and Best Fertilizer Company Limited, which is under the One District, One Factory initiative located at Asankare in the Ashanti Region, to increase their production lines to meet domestic demand rather than paying heavy sums of money to import fertilizers.
Over the past two years, COVID-19 has presented many challenges to global food security. Today, what is happening in Russia and Ukraine adds another significant challenge. Food prices, already on the rise since the second half of 2020, reached an all-time high in February 2022 due to high demand, input, transportation costs, and port disruptions. The conflict’s intensity and duration remain uncertain. The likely troubles to agricultural activities of these two significant exporters of staple commodities could seriously escalate food insecurity globally when international food and input prices are already high and volatile. The more reason why the government must support local fertilizer producers, while it settles its debts to fertilizer producers.