Fertilizer producing companies in Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom have closed or drastically reduced their production capacity due to the high cost of natural gas, which is the essential raw material for the production of fertilizers.
A major fertilizer producer, Yara, late last year announced its decision to cut production due to “record natural gas prices in Europe”.
The situation paints a grim overall picture of the seriousness of food security not only in fertilizer-producing countries, but worldwide.
Ghana is 100% dependent on imported fertilizers and a rise in world prices and/or lack of the commodity directly affects us as a country.
At the start of this crop year, a ton of urea, which was sold at $300 at the start of the 2021 crop year, is now selling for more than $900, an increase of more than 300%.
The introduction of the flagship agricultural policy, Planting for Food and Jobs, really exposed farmers to the benefits of using fertilizers. Indeed, subsidized fertilizers have played an important role in increasing production, leading to food security.
Until the introduction of the flagship program, fertilizer use in Ghana was as low as eight kilograms (kg) per hectare, compared to the current 28 kg per hectare, although significant, still falls short recommended worldwide use of 130 kg per hectare.
The rise in fertilizer prices and the virtual absence of the product on the world market therefore invite Ghana to find innovative ways to remedy the shortage of the product.
One of the best ways is for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to ask its extension officers to encourage farmers to switch to using organic fertilizers to supplement the inorganic, which is almost beyond the reach of the ordinary farmer.
Organic fertilizer comes in three forms: solid, liquid and granular. With the exception of liquid organic fertilizer, the rest is mainly produced locally
Experts believe that organic fertilizer is the best way to go because unlike inorganic which leaves residues in the soil which can lead to increase the acidic nature of the earth, organic fertilizer breaks down leaving no no residue.
Therefore, last Tuesday, officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, led by the Minister, Dr. Owusu Afrieyie Akoto, held a discussion with 18 local fertilizer producers on ways to scale up production. quality organic fertilizers.
The meeting was to allow the ministry to know what they are doing now, their production capacity and their projections for the coming years so that, on this basis, the ministry can convert the quantities they produce into areas they can cover.
“Once we are able to establish that we know that if we have about 1.7 million hectares under corn and what they produce can be 500,000, then we know there is still a gap,” said the ministry’s technical adviser, Emmanuel Asante Krobea. , told the Daily Graphic.
Fertilizer local products
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Akoto said local fertilizer producers are expected to produce quality organic fertilizers on a large scale for use by farmers.
According to the minister, organic farming had taken a huge premium in the international market, which is why mass production of quality organic fertilizers would make the country less dependent on inorganic fertilizers.