YARA Ghana, a fertiliser manufacturing company, has set aside 350,000 bags of fertiliser – YaraMila Actyva fertilizer – worth US$20million to give to farmers across the country in efforts to ensure food security.
YARA is doing this in partnership with USAID, Africa Fertiliser Agrihouse Partnership (AFAP) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as part of the Grow Ghana Initiative. The Grow Ghana Initiative is to provide 100,000 smallholder farmers with the product. When used appropriately, at the end of the farming season the country is expected to get about 500,000 metric tonnes of rice and maize.
Speaking to journalists, Commercial Manager for YARA Theophilus Djorbuah noted that for the past two to three years fertiliser subsidies for farmers were not forthcoming; and this made several farmers decide to reduce the size of their farms in order not to incur extra cost.
This situation, according to Mr. Djorbuah, if it persists could throw the country’s food security into shambles. Therefore, with this initiative farmers will no longer reduce the size of their farms.
USAID Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, on her part noted that this initiative is expected to run for three farming seasons and will help mitigate the impact of rising fertiliser prices.
“This funding, part of the United States’ support for food security around the world, will strengthen and deepen our food security initiatives – especially on fertilisers and inputs for smallholder farmers here in Ghana. It will help smallholders better mitigate the impacts of rising fertiliser prices, so that they can remain productive and contribute to food security in their communities and across the nation.
“USAID is working with Yara, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) to help supply 360,000 bags of YaraMila Actyva fertiliser that will help reduce smallholder farmers’ input costs by one-third. The Grow Ghana Initiative is expected to run for at least three consecutive farming seasons, and will help to feed over one million people in the country,” Ms. Rosen highlighted.
On her part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NorthGate Warehouse and also sole distributor of YARA fertilisers, Elizabeth Dwamena, expressed satisfaction with the initiative – saying it will go a long way to boost the work of farmers across the country.
“This year has been particularly challenging for farmers as well as agro-dealers due to the price hikes of fertiliser, other inputs and the cost of transportation. The value of capital for most agro-dealers can hardly purchase the same number of bags of fertiliser when compared to the previous years. Our main clients, the farmers, also have to pay double the price for the same bag of fertiliser as they did last year. Farmers are reducing the sizes of their farms, which threatens food security; as a professional nurse, I will add to the overall nutrition of our people.
“The GROW Ghana initiative is a welcome relief for us all to ensure that farmers can access the much-needed fertiliser; and from the USAID component needed technical assistance to ensure efficient use. For the Agro-dealer, I believe support provided under this initiative will keep us in business during these times,” Ms. Dwamena said.