The Ghana Cocoa Board, COCOBOD, is predicting fertilizer shortage for cocoa farmers in the coming years.

Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo, attributed the impact of COVID-19 and the current Russia-Ukraine war as reasons for the potential shortage.

“Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are the three countries that produce the base elements for fertilizer production. And with the war there, it means that, we cannot get the base elements to produce the fertilizer not only for Ghana but the world. It is going to be difficult so if that base element cannot be obtained, it means there is going to be a shortage. So we must all brace ourselves that come next year, fertilizer is not going to be there. Even if there is, it is going to be limited.”

He was speaking during the inauguration of three Management Committees including the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), the Seed Production Division (SPD), and the Cocoa Health and Extension Division.

Mr. Boahene says even though measures have been initiated to ensure that farmers do not face severe hardship, cocoa farmers should resort to organic fertilizers like poultry manure.

“We as a country, we are going to look for alternatives, and one critical thing we have been telling the farmers is that, when we talk of fertilizer, we are not only talking about the inorganic fertilizer. There is organic fertilizer such as poultry manure which is the best, but our farmers are conservative. This is the challenge because they are all looking up to government for free fertilizer. Now it is not going to come, so we are asking our farmers to brace these austerity measures together and resort to organic fertilizer.”

Food crisis

In 2021, persons within Ghana’s food production value chain warned of food shortage over claims of the unavailability of fertilizer in the country.

At the time, they said Ghana could face a potential food crisis by 2022 if the challenges they faced with regard to scarcity of agricultural material persisted.

“The situation is having a toll on us in terms of food supply. The expected average food yield has also been affected in a way. There are a lot of issues hitting us on the ground.”

“We have a looming danger, and we are moving towards it slowly. By 2022, the food crisis will be an issue. I definitely foresee it seriously, because the factors on the ground point to that. The issue of fertilizer is critical,” Seidu Mubarak, Executive Council member of the National Seed Trading Association of Ghana, said.

Several farmers in parts of the country are struggling to access fertilizer to increase yields. Some had blamed government for failing to pay fertilizer suppliers hence the shortage, long before the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has admitted to challenges with the supply of fertilizer to farmers to boost agricultural production in the country.

It, however, blamed the situation partly on the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source:
Kennedy Odame Twumasi

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