The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo says government efforts to increase the quota of organic fertiliser in the fertiliser subsidy programme in the 2023 budget stems from the need to improve food security in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture at the launch of Sika Zeolite fertiliser, in Accra on Monday, the Director of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Eric Quaye, said the ministry was targeting an increased usage of fertiliser per hectare as one of the strategies to improve food sufficiency as a result of the shortfall of fertiliser in the country.
According to him, though average usage of fertiliser per hectare is woefully inadequate and falls short of the global average of 130kg per hectare, government has made efforts to increase it from 8kg per hectare in 2017 to 25kg per hectare and beyond.
He said “the Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the 2023 Budget Statement is going to increase the quota of organic fertiliser in the fertiliser subsidy programme to the benefit of companies like yours to cover the shortfall in inorganic fertiliser supply and you should take full advantage.”
He stated that government is, therefore, facilitating the establishment and expansion of local organic fertiliser production plants with support from the EXIM Bank.
“I want to encourage Ghanaian farmers and consumers alike to patronise organic fertilisers. They are healthier, environmentally friendly and in the long run cheaper if we are patient to apply them consistently as we do inorganic fertilisers,” he added.
The country representative for Imarich Ventures, suppliers of the Zeolite organic fertiliser, Richard Nyamar, said the product has been tested on farms through demonstration and labs by scientists following which the product was licensed and certified by both Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
He said the product derived from volcanic ash has been tested in the lab and on the field, and scientifically proven to have soil repairing properties that increases crop yield, improves the absorption of nutrients by plants, reduces leaching which gives healthy organic yields that increases the lifespan of plants.
Present at the launch include the CEO of NEIP, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, Prof. Samuel Adjei Nsiah of the Forest and Crop Research Centre, University of Ghana, the CEO of Tree Crops Authority, Mr. William Kwaittoo and Dr. Jerry Nboyine of CSIR, who made a presentation on the Sika Organic Zeolite pesticide.