Maize Growers & Buyers Association appeals to gov’t for access to fertiliser
A farming and input dealers group known as the Maize Growers and Buyers Association, in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region, has appealed to the government to assist them to have access to more fertiliser to enhance their production.
They made the appeal through the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, when he was at some farms in the region as part of his working visit to the region.
The leader of the association explained that, “we have created an employment avenue, whereby throughout the year, we produce maize, so for food security, the Ahanta West Municipality, we don’t have a problem.
He commended the government for its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, noting that farmers in the region have benefitted from it. He extended the same gesture of commendation to the Ministry for their support to farmers.
The leader said, he was hopeful that they would enjoy other initiatives being implemented by the government, including the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) and the One District-One Dam.
While indicating that the Association has storage facilities for their produce, he appealed to the Minister to assist them to have access to more fertiliser.
“We have a warehouse with inputs, but our only problem is fertiliser, which we are willing to buy,” he said.
This, he said, would augment their production activities and improve their maize yields to ensure food security, not only in the Ahanta West Municipality but the country at large.
In the Minister’s remarks, he said, he was delighted with the involvement of various farmer groups in the implementation of the PJF, and other agriculture initiatives being implemented by the government.
He assured them of the government’s commitment to ensuring that they have access to subsidised inputs under the programme. He, however, urged them to take advantage of the open market of other fertiliser blending facilities to support their work.
“The Ministry will provide further assistance by arranging with these companies such as AMG, Yara among others to supply directly to the farmers,” the minister told the farmers and pledged of the Ministry’s assistance to enable them to buy fertilisers directly from those who sell on the open market.
The sector minister, Dr Afriyie Akoto, expressed dismay over the 13% dip in the quantity of harvested maize, which had dropped to a national average of 3.8 metric tonnes per hector in 2019 to 3.3 metric tonnes per hector in 2020.
This situation, he attributed to prolonged water shortage, causing drought in the country’s main cereal-producing regions, including Afram Plans in the Eastern Region, Kintampo in the Bono East Region, and Ejura Sekyere-Odumasi in the major and minor seasons in the country the Ashanti Region.
“I was a witness to this unfortunate event…the day before the 2020 general elections, I was driving from Kumasi to Ejura-Sekyedumase, on a mission. The shock I received after travelling past Mampong was that both left and right fields were brown. Ordinarily, those should have been green at that time of the year. My heart was broken,” he said.
Steps to address the issue
Dr Afriyie Akoto stated that there had also been a reduction of maize importation from 80,000 to 40,000 in 2017 to 80,000 in 2018, and said, “this figure is expected to vanish in the next three years so or if we continue to produce at the rate we are doing.”
Therefore, the government had taken steps to rehabilitate and construct irrigation facilities to ensure all-year-round farming and promote conservation agriculture among farmers, he said.