The shortage of inorganic fertilizers coupled with the price hikes in both international and Ghana drove out a lot of smallholder farmers from production causing fear and panic of food insecurity in Ghana.
To avert these challenges, Yara international in its initiative Grow Ghana, a rapid response initiative has donated 20,000mt fertilizers to smallholder farmers.
On the demonstration day of the distribution of the fertilizers, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Osei Akoto Afriyie lauded Yara for such a significant donation to the smallholder farmers through the Grow Ghana initiative.
The Minister said fertilizer is very critical to enhancing food production and Yara’s donation is very timely “on behalf of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the Government of Ghana I want to show appreciation to Yara for such a donation. The donation is significant, and very timely because it is raining all over the regions and this is the time for the application of fertilizer, so it couldn’t have come at any better time than now”.
Speaking to Agric Today he explained that on annual basis Ghana has grown from 200,000mt of fertilizer usage in 2017 to the peak of 400,000mt in 2020 but due to the current global crunch, it has dwindled.
He appealed to the other international fertilizer manufacturers to follow suit as it is left with only one month for fertilizer application to elapse.
“We are appealing to other international producers of fertilizer to follow the footsteps of Yara and make a commitment at this time, because have only about a month more for fertilizer application, after that it will be no use to the farmers because the time of application would have past”, he said.
The Regional Director, West Africa of Yara Danquah Addo-Yobo underscored the unavailability and price hikes of fertilizer making it important for Yara to support smallholder farmers and food production, “in these difficult times, fertilizer prices have been very high, and fertilizer availability has also been very difficult and Yara has decided to show the courage to lead. Yara has taken the lead to come up with an initiative to support smallholder farmers and food production in Ghana”.
According to the Regional Manager, Yara’s initiative, Grow Ghana Initiative is committing $20m to supply fertilizers to farmers in Ghana predominantly, smallholder farmers and that would translate into a total of 360,000kg bags of fertilizers that would go in a free package to farmers.
He explained that the fertilizers are expected to reach at least 100,000 smallholder farmers in the process. “We expect that the package exercise that we are doing with the initiative will support food production of more than 500,000mt of cereals”, he added.
In order to ensure that the fertilizers get to the smallholder farmers, the Regional Director said Yara is working in partnership with the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), the key implementation partner to ensure that the plans and the execution strategies of Yara are done.
In terms of sustainability, he said Yara is discussing within the Yara group and globally with other partners to have multiple years of support to ensure sustainability and strength could be built for the smallholder farmers to thrive.