The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) on Thursday made a passionate appeal to the government to urgently release fertilizers to farmers to avert low crop yield this year and imminent food shortage in the country next year.
The President of PFAG, Mr. Mohammed Adam Nashiru, said the non-availability of fertilizers for farmers for this year’s planting season posed a threat to food security in the country and would have dire consequences on the national economy.
Mr. Nashiru made this known at the opening of a two-day capacity-building workshop on agriculture governance and budget process for peasant farmers at Shama in the Western Region.
The event was organised by PFAG and funded by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) aimed at enhancing the knowledge of smallholder farmers on governance and budget process in order to contribute meaningfully towards policy formulation to enhance accountability in agriculture governance in the country.
Mr. Nashiru, who is also the vice president of Ghana Federation of Agricultural Farmers, revealed that the country does not have food reserves that could sustain the populace in the event of food shortage.
“Most of the food crops such as maize have yellowish leaves because they lack fertilizer nutrients therefore it is a clear indication that there will be low yield this year and this will result in food shortage next year if no stringent measures are put in place to rectify the situation”, he opined.
He said the fertilizer subsidy policy instituted by the government was still in force and asked the government to explain the current fertilizer shortage.
Touching on food reserves, he said, unlike United States of America which had food reserves that could sustain the country for over 10 years in the event of food shortage, Ghana had no food reserves and blamed the situation on the inability of the National Food Buffer Stock Company to store surplus food during bumper harvest.
Mr. Nashiru said the National Food Buffer Stock Company which was established by the Act of Government was mandated to preserve food in storage facilities, however it lacked the resources to purchase them coupled with non-availability of storage facilities thereby rendering it redundant.
He said other challenges facing peasant farmers in the country include bad feeder roads, lack of storage facilities and access to market that had worsened the living conditions of most farmers.
“If you go to the Northern Region now, there are large tracts of arable lands for food crop cultivation but due to rising cost of fuel and farm inputs, the land lie idle and this will have dire consequences on food security in the country in the coming years,”, he observed.
Dr. William Ahadzie, a Social Policy Analyst, took participants through governance and advocacy and urged smallholder farmers to mobilize themselves to champion their cause.