The country is yet to tap into the US$5.8bn organic fertiliser market, though most of the organic plants needed for its production abounds.
The 2017 edition of the Fertiliser Statistics Overview of Ghana from 2013 to 2016 reveals that the country imported an average of 234,802mt of inorganic fertiliser – mostly NPK, Urea and TSP – within the period under review.
Fertilisers are imported, blended and distributed through a network/system of wholesale and retail agro-dealers; a situation that the Dangote group is trying to address by setting up the largest inorganic fertiliser plant in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, everyday plants and leaves of food crops like cassava and soya used in the production of organic fertilizers are in abundance – which when harnessed can help reduce the country’s fertiliser import bill and help improve the export receipts of fertiliser.
The organic fertilisers market was valued by market analyst at US$5.87billion in 2016. It is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.08% from 2017, to reach 11.16billion by 2022.
However, fertiliser exports from Ghana are very low. The highest exports were 7,520mt recorded in 2014, out of which only 25mt of organic fertilisers were exported to Senegal in 2016.
Mr. Opoku Manu, co-founder of Kingdom Organic Fertiliser – certified producer of liquid plant-based organic fertilisers – told the B&FT that: “We use grass, cassava leaves and other plants found in Ghana for production of the liquid fertiliser.
“Organic fertilisers, especially liquid fertilisers, are a quick and effective way to nourish established plants in pots or in your garden. They start working almost immediately, assuring continued, excellent growth and quick recovery for those that are tired and lack nutrients.”
The few companies producing liquid organic fertilisers argue that policymakers need to take concreate steps to purchase locally produced liquid organic fertlisers for government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
Government has said it will support about 200,000 farmers with farm inputs and fertiliser, as part of its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme, to boost agricultural productivity in the country.
Mr. Manu believes that the Food and Agricultural Ministry must consider buying organic liquid fertilisers produced locally to support the programme. “Aside from illegal mining, otherwise known as ‘galamsey’, chemical fertilisers that we import into this country are impacting negatively on our soil. If we turn to organic fertlisers, it will help our soil and we will have a healthy population,” Mr. Manu added.
Mr. Philip Obeng Larbi, Production Unit, Kingdom Organic fertiliser said: “The materials we use are available locally. We have the expertise to produce enough to support vegetable farmers increase their yield per acre and help cut down on increasing vegetable imports into the country.”
The country imports millions of dollars’ worth of vegetables from Vietnam, Canada, Malaysia, Thailand and India among others.