Business News of Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Source: Daily Guide
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Maurice Tanco Abisa Seidu, has said government is in talks with foreign investors to establish a fertilizer production plant to take advantage of the by-products from Ghana crude oil production.
He made this known at the launch of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) West Africa Fertilizer Programme (WAFP) in Accra.
Mr. Seidu said “whether fertilizer is imported or produced locally, it is our responsibility to ensure that the fertilizer in the marketplace is of the highest quality and contains the right nutrients and of the right bag weights to protect the farmer, the honest businessman and the environment.
“It is in this light that the government has passed the Plant and Fertilizer Act, 2012 (Act 803) and has set up the necessary Fertilizer Regulatory System. It is our hope that other countries in the sub-region will align themselves with the ECOWAS Fertilizer Regulation to create a bigger sub-regional market and allow unimpeded trade of high quality fertilizer,” he added.
He said farmers faced many problems which included availability, access and affordability of fertilizers.
These constraints of farmers, he said, could be addressed not by government alone hence the call on the private sector to drive fertilizer use and promotional activities.
He said the private fertilizer companies and the government should continue working hand-in-hand in the promotion of increased fertilizer use, adding that the banks were encouraged to provide affordable loans to all the actors on the fertilizer supply chain, while institutions that were capable of providing farmers with guarantees should assist small holder farmers.
He encouraged the fertilizer importing companies to bring in fertilizers on time and also set up storage facilities in remote areas where they could stock fertilizers to increase timely access to farmers.
“My understanding is that the West Africa Fertilizer Programme is in partnership with the Africa Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) to ease supply side constraints through grants that will provide credit guarantees for fertilizer imports and will also support the expansion of blending capacities and building of inland warehouses.”
He commended the United States government for providing the funds to the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) to implement the West Africa Fertilizer Programme.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Fertilizer programme is a five-year project that seeks to significantly increase food security and reduce poverty and hunger in West Africa.
The programme hoped to increase the regional availability of appropriate and affordable fertilizers through increased regional supply and distribution of fertilizers by the private sector, increase use of improved fertilizers and improved efficiency of regional market transaction.