The guideline will be an essential tool for fertilizer inspectors and analysts who will regulate the provision of high-quality organic products to farmers.
It is also envisaged that the guideline will be useful reference material for the organic fertilizer sector and all relevant stakeholders.
The Acting Director of CSIR –Soil Research Institute Dr. Edward Yeboah who made this remark at the handing over of Organic Fertilizer Guidelines for Ghana and awareness creation ceremony held in Accra noted that the decline in soil fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa is a major challenge to sustainable agriculture.
“This is mainly due to the poor inherent parent materials through which the soil is developed such as granite and phyllite. These parent materials are low in primary minerals needed for crops,” he explained.
According to him, the need for sustainable intensification of agriculture and the increasingly high-cost inorganic fertilizer in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Ghana, in particular, has informed the need to encourage farmers to adopt a hybrid soil management practice.
He said proper soil management has the potential to improve farm productivity. It is in this regard, that there is a need to provide effective guidelines to regulate the industry with respect to the quality of organic fertilizer.
The application rates of most organic fertilizers to specific crops are still a challenge.
“Awareness of the need to use an organic fertilizer is recognized by the government through the Planting of Food and Job fertilizer subsidy,” he stated.
He also appealed to the government and their development partners to ensure the availability of organic fertilizer guidelines to help improve the soil fertility status in the country.
The Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Mr. Eric Bentsil Quaye, in his remark, stressed the need of using top quality inputs to help combat land degradation.
“The organic fertilizer guidelines to be presented to the PPRSD will help us continue to raise awareness at both industry and farm levels relative to the benefits of producing and using top quality inputs to transform not only the output market but the whole agriculture and food sector,” he stated.
We, as AGRA with the support of its PIATA partners among which USAID and the CG have been investing in 3 main areas:
– Integrated soil fertility management approach,
– The association with organic fertilizers and
– The use of bio-fertilizers.
This he said, going forward AGRA and its PIATA partners will continue to support relevant innovations for soil health in the region.
It has become imperative that a guideline for organic fertilizers be developed to complement the Fertilizer Act and Regulations for the fertilizer sector which has been largely skewed towards the inorganic fertilizer, which forms a large percentage of the fertilizers used in Ghana.
It is against this background that the Pant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the MoFA as the national regulator of the fertilizers requested the assistance of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with USAID as sponsors to develop the Organic Fertilizer Guidelines for Ghana.