The 2012 Tano North District Best Farmer in the Ahafo Region, Mr. Yahya Iddrisu, says many farmers have switched to poultry droppings to fertiliser their farmlands as the surge in the price of chemical fertilisers persists.
Poultry manure is the faeces of fowls that is utilised as an organic fertiliser since it contains the greatest nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus of any animal manure.
Mr. Iddrisu disclosed that Ghana would likely suffer food insecurity and a deterioration in rural employment if the prices the chemical fertilisers are not addressed quickly.
In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Mr Iddrisu commended the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative introduced in 2017 that had a 50-per cent fertiliser subsidy and supply of seeds to cushion farmers.
However, he said, both the fertiliser subsidy and seeds no longer existed, emphasizing that, “Now there is no subsidy on any fertilizer anymore.”
He said that the 50kg fertilizer that was sold for GH¢80 last year is now being sold for GH¢400 while that of 25kg sold for GH¢45 in 2021 is now going for GH¢200 this year.
Again, he noted that a weedicide that sold for GH¢16 last year was now being sold for GH¢50, and this had caused farmers great distress as they are unable to afford the current prices of fertilizer and other critical farm inputs needed to increase production.
To help farmers stay in business and not quit farming, he said, “Some people are turning to poultry droppings instead of the chemical fertilizer, and with the increased demand, prices have also increased.
He stated that 25kg of poultry droppings, which was sold for one or two Ghana cedis last year, was now sold for 10 Ghana cedis, but added that if not for the favourable rainfall pattern seen this year, farmers would have cut down production even further due to ballooning fertiliser prices and other agricultural inputs.
Mr Iddrisu called on the government to redirect financial resources to providing fertilizer and other critical farm inputs to farmers to help increase food productivity and absorb external shocks crippling Ghana’s economy.
He also observed that the war between Russia and Ukraine should be a lesson for Ghana to invest more resources into the production of local food crops such as cassava, beans, maize, plantain, rice and yam.
“What our leaders must do now is identify opportunities in crises like this Russia and Ukraine war, and invest more resources in assisting smallholder farmers with inputs such as fertiliser, weedicides, and others,” he said.
Adding, “We should stop talking about wheat and start thinking about what local people eat, like koko and koose, akpele, okro, plantain, cassava, maize and yam. These should dominate our thinking and planning.”
Contributing, Mr Emmanuel Wullingdool, a Consultant in Agriculture and International Farmers, said despite having good intentions, the planting for food and jobs initiative failed to address the long-standing problems that local farmers face, such as a shortage of storage space, water, and transportation for farm products.
“A country with food security is a peaceful country as food security is national security,” he said, calling on the government to provide the budget early to guarantee that various Agriculture Departments in Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies help farmers in crop production.