Giving the keynote address at the official launch of the Sustain Africa/Export Trading Group ,Ghana Fertilizer Relief Program, the Minister emphasized the critical role of fertilizer and quality seeds in meeting the food demands of the current population. He expressed his appreciation for the partnership between Export Trading Group, Sustain Africa, and African Fertilizer and Agribusiness partnership (AFAP), with the ministry of food and agriculture which aims to ensure affordable prices for farmers and accessible produce for the people of Ghana.
“In the coming months, the Government plans to implement an aggressive program starting in June, with a focus on ensuring food security and availability for the next five years, The program aims to transition from the current subsidy program, pending cabinet approval, to an input credit system. Which will help reduce barriers to entry into agriculture, enabling more individuals to participate in the sector and allowing farmers to acquire fertilizers at preferred prices. Under the new program, the ETG will provide fertilizers and seeds to farmers, who will make payment after the planting season. Crops will then be traded on the Ghana Commodity Exchange. He stated
According to him, this proactive approach seeks to stabilize food prices, eliminate market fluctuations, and address price disparities across different markets. Furthermore, the program will facilitate direct partnerships between the private sector’s large-scale commercial farmers and the industry sector. By aligning these sectors, the government aims to reduce the importation of raw materials by matching the requirements of the Association of Ghana Industries with products from large-scale private farmers. This initiative supports the goal of achieving import substitution.
The Country Director of Export Trading Fertilizer, Fred Akowuah, speaking at the official launch of the sustain Africa /ETG initiative also highlighted the primary objective of the Fertilizer Relief Program, which is to support farmers in rural areas. according to him,the program addresses the issue of high fertilizer prices, which hinder farmers’ access to quality fertilizers and necessary inputs for successful farming. By targeting over 150,000 farmers in rural areas, the relief program aims to distribute approximately 15,000 metric tonnes of low-cost fertilizers. This initiative will assist farmers in reducing food prices and enhancing food security throughout the country.
The Regional Director of Sustain Africa,Nana-Aisha Mohammed, underscored their dedication to providing crucial support to both private sector and smallholder farmers in the country. With a particular emphasis on empowering women and youth within farming communities, adding that. partnership aims to facilitate knowledge transfer, which will be effectively implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. One of the key objectives is aso to ensure that smallholder farmers make efficient use of the upcoming fertilizer program. The extension program will primarily focus on technology transfer and promote integrated soil fertility management initiatives and quality control measures will be implemented throughout the value chain to guarantee that farmers receive the appropriate fertilizers.
Sustain Africa, ETG, and AFAP aim to supply fertilizers to 150,000 farmers, it is important to note that Ghana’s farming population stands at approximately 3.5 million. Thus, the current coverage by ETG represents only 5 percent of the farming population. The Minister for Food and Agriculture,Hon.Bryan Acheampong however encouraged ETG, Sustain Africa, AFAP, and their partners to explore opportunities for collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to expand their target to at least 10 percent of the farming population in the country.