The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Brian Acheampong, has launched the Sustain Africa/ ETG Ghana Fertiliser Relief Programme to supply 15,000 metric tonnes of subsidised fertilisers to smallholder farmers across the country to enhance food production.
An initiative of Sustain Africa, an international platform to help provide affordable fertiliser to smallholder farmers, ETG Agri Inputs Limited Ghana, a fertiliser supply company, and Africa Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership, an international Non-governmental organisation, the programme is expected to benefit 150,000 farmers across the country who are into the production of vegetables and cereals such as rice, millet, soya beans and maize to boost food production and enhance food security in the country.
Under the programme, the smallholder farmers will buy a 50-kilogramme of ammonium sulphate fertiliser at the price of GH¢250 instead of the market price of GH ¢300, and similarly purchase a 50-kilogramme of NPK 23-10 fertiliser at the price of GH¢300 instead of the market price of GH¢450.
Speaking at the launch yesterday, Mr Acheampong said Ghana could not achieve food security and feed its citizens without quality fertilisers and improved seeds.
He said aside the discounted fertiliser programme, government from June this year would roll out an aggressive five-year programme to ensure food security in the country.
He said under the programme, government would support big fertiliser companies to supply fertilisers to farmers at a subsidised price, and the smallholder farmers would pay for the fertilisers after harvesting and selling.
According to the Minister, fertiliser and machinery constituted about 85 per cent of the cost of production for smallholder farmers.
“The subsidised inputs will help reduce the cost of production and prices of food in the country and promote food security,” Mr Acheampong stated.
The Minister encouraged partners of the subsidised fertiliser programme to expand the initiative to cover all the 3.7 million smallholder farmers in the country.
Mr Acheampong further entreated the fertiliser companies to emulate the Sustain Africa/ ETG Ghana Fertiliser Relief Programme and provide subsidised fertiliser to smallholder farmers.
Mr Acheampong also entreated the fertiliser companies to reduce the price of fertilisers now that the Cedi has been stabilised.
The Country Director of ETG Agri Inputs Limited Ghana, Fred Akowuah, said his outfit, which is into distribution of fertilisers, agrochemicals and seeds, was committed to helping address the agro input challenges facing smallholder farmers in the country.
“Today, we are embarking on a journey to make real difference in Ghana’s agriculture, especially for smallholder farmers.”
He said Ghana was a priority market to the company and that was the reason the company was facilitating the delivery of discounted fertilisers for farmers.
The Executive Director of Sustain Africa, Ben Valk, said the programme formed part of the commitment of his outfit to make fertiliser affordable to smallholder farmers and enhance food security in Ghana.
He said the programme would help provide food for about 500,000 people in the country and also help create jobs for the youth and women in agriculture.
In addition, Mr Valk said the partners had provided $1 million dollars to provide extension services to the beneficiary farmers.
FROM KINGSLEY ASARE, KPONE
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