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Business News of Friday, 29 May 2015

Source: GNA

Grains Council ponders creating standard for fertilizer

The Ghana Grains Council on Thursday met stakeholders to seek views on the need to establish a national standard for fertilizer to ensure that farmers apply the right fertilizer to the specific ecology and crop.

The meeting was also to perk up the national quality infrastructure and create awareness among players in the industry on the fertilizer policy, the Fertilizer Act and Regulations.

Mr Joshua Adjoteye, the Country Coordinator for the West Africa Fertilizer Project, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said farmers ought to test the soil before the application of the fertilizer.

He said the inability of farmers to test the soil before planting could be blamed on the long duration in getting tested results and the high costs.

Mr Adjoteye said the situation deters farmers and forces them to apply “blanket fertilizer”, as they often apply NPK 15-15-15 without due regard to specific ecology or crop.

He said differences in soil nutrients made it imperative for the soil to be tested to determine the right type of fertilizer that ought to be applied to the exact soil or crop type.

Mr Adjoteye said the cost per augur (a term used in sampling soils) used to hover around GH? 90.00 while the farmer ought to wait for about three to four months before getting the results, and that the minimum augur for an acre of land is five.

Touching on rice production, Professor Baffour Agyemang-Duah, the Chief Executive Officer of the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, in a speech read on his behalf, said Ghana could be self-sufficient in rice production if the prepared policies that reinforce the value chain were implemented and managed well.

“I always say this not forgetting the very critical example and success story of the operation feed yourself policy….[that] made Ghana a net exporter of rice, unfortunately, however, the country relapsed and has become a net importer of rice,” he said.

The Ghana Grains Council organised the workshop in partnership with the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services, the Ghana standards authority, German National Metrology Institute and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Intenationale Zusammenarbeirt.