As the Russia-Ukraine war worsens by the day, the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) has predicted that Ghana’s agriculture sector stands a chance of being greatly affected.
According to the Chamber, potash, metals, wood, and plastic – all of which are utilized in a wide range of agriculture products – are mainly imported from Russia. However, due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, fertilizer producers are struggling with inputs as a result of the host of restrictions imposed on Russia.
“The exacerbation and ramifications of Russia-Ukraine crisis might be catastrophic, while the ripple effects could spread across a world currently recovering from pandemic supply chain disruptions”.Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana
Mr. Sebastian Alesane, a Researcher at the Chamber, said that Ghanaian farmers rely mostly on inorganic fertilizer imported from Europe for food production. He, thus, indicated that the most commonly imported fertilizer type into Ghana is nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).
A report by the Nationmaster showed that Russia ranks fourth in the world for nitrogen fertilizer production hence, the Chamber has predicted that this year’s supply would be affected by the crisis, making fertilizer scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region always vulnerable to these shocks because it is a net importer of the commodity.
The Chamber indicated that as of yet, the crisis impact on global trade has been most pronounced in the black sea, where Russian and Ukrainian ports serve as a significant hub for wheat and maize exports.
“The world’s second-largest grain exporting region has been practically closed down. It will take time to increase grain supplies and the sheer volume that could be diverted as a result”Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana
Remedies to curb potential impact on food security
To curb the Russia-Ukraine crisis on Ghana’s food security, the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana suggested that the government should encourage organic fertilizer producers through a purposeful and vigorous local production policy and subsidies to enhance production and protect smallholder farmers.
“Priority needs to be given to remedying the situation now to avoid a significant output setback in 2022 and 2023. Investing in local production units will protect farmers if critical imports fail to materialize. In other for local and indigenous methods to re-fertilize their soil, there must be alternatives to inorganic fertilizers such as composting and capacity building in biofertilizer formulation”Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana
The Chamber moreover, advised that livestock and crop farming should be linked so that livestock and crop farming can coexist, to ensure that the land is fertilized on a year-round basis with organic manure from the livestock.
The Chamber further suggested that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should implement deliberate policies that would encourage farmers to grow staple crops such as millet, maize, beans, groundnuts, yam, and cassava. This is because growing such crops require fewer amounts of inorganic fertilizers to grow.
Special recommendation for the Northern sector
The Chamber recommended farmers in the northern part of Ghana cultivate climate-smart agronomic practices and phosphorus-efficient cereal and grain legume varieties. These, according to the Chamber, would ensure that minimal or low fertilizers are used.
Again, the chamber proposed the utilization of rhizobium inoculants plus phosphorus-based fertilizers for the farmers in the five northern regions to boost production. Ghana’s agriculture sector