Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Agric Minister

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is projecting 2022 as a difficult year for government’s flagship programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ because of anticipated shortages of fertiliser supply.

According to Lead Director for the programme, Seth Osei Akoto, the Ministry was not able to meet the target for the distribution of fertiliser in 2021.

The current conflict between Russia and Ukraine is also going to pose an even greater challenge as Russia is a leading producer of fertiliser.

Speaking at the Soil Health Stakeholder Forum organised by the Israeli Embassy, Mr Akoto indicated that the way out will be to rely heavily on organic fertiliser.

 “We couldn’t achieve the target of volumes of fertilisers that we thought we could distribute last year. With what is happening on the international market, Russia being a country that produces lot of fertilisers, supplies will be a challenge.

“As a Ministry, we have anticipated based on what happened last year, instead of putting all our eggs in one basket, we’re trying to expand the organic base fertilisers,” he said.

A non-governmental organisation and a pool of private fertiliser companies, African Fertiliser and Agriculture Business Partnership (AFAP), meanwhile says it will diversify sourcing to enable them meet demand of Ghanaian farmers.

Country manager for AFAP, Nana Aisha Mohammed, said “since the onset of COVID-19, we had a rude awakening to the fact that something had to be done about improving local capacity of fertiliser production and fertiliser blending.

“This awakening has also been increased by the ongoing situation in Russia and Ukraine as these are big giants of fertiliser manufacturing”.

“With new partnerships, come new opportunities and sourcing. We look forward to focusing on diversifying outsourcing opportunities beyond Russia and Ukraine,” he said.

The Israeli embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, AFAP and AGRA held a Soil Health Stakeholder Forum.

Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Shilomit Sufa, revealed that the forum is among many projects by her outfit to contribute to Ghana’s agricultural sector.

“Our plans going forward are in two main channels. One is the economic and commercial corporation that we want to establish here with relevant Ghanaian companies and investors. The other one is continued work of the embassy providing these corporations with necessary help,” she said.

Head of Trade and Economic Mission, Embassy of Israel, Ayelet Levin-Karp explained the purpose of the forum, saying “we see soil health as one of the important compartments of good and strong agricultural sector.”

“We feel that this is an important thing to be discussing because there are a lot of changes going on in this market with the rise of the price of fertiliser as well as political issues affecting the supply of fertiliser. As an embassy, we feel the time has come in Ghana to educate the vital role soil plays,” she stated.