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Organic manure could help reduce cost of food production – Agric policy consultant

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It might be possible to lower production costs and bring down the ultimate price of farm products by using organic manure. This would imply that customers might see some relief from the growing price of food.

The government is being urged to scale up production of organic manure, begin the production of inorganic manure, pesticides, weedicides and the many other inputs in agriculture. 

Should the government fail to adhere to these concerns, Ghanaians would continue to pay more for food in 2023.

Emmanuel Wullingdool, an Agriculture Policy Consultant said this when he spoke on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show today, Wednesday, November 16, 2023. 

“This should be what should be of concern to all the players in the sector. This is the peak. This is the harvest period so one would have expected that we should see prices coming down and that we should see food inflation drastically coming down but we still see it at these drastically high levels,” he said of the current prices of food products in Ghana.

For food inflation, Savannah Region topped with 49.7 percent while the Upper West Region followed with a rate of 44.4 percent. The North East Region came in close third with a rate of 36.6 percent. The Upper East Region and the Northern Region recorded food inflation rates of 34.9 percent and 28.2 percent respectively.

This is according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). 

The government is in the position to salvage the situation, if it acts quickly. 

“We need to begin to look at organic manure not the organic one. If you look at what is happening in Ukraine and Russia, we may not get the fertilisers as we used to as it was in the planting season we are just coming out of. We should begin to use organic fertilisers, composts and other things to help reduce the cost of the production process.”

“Secondly, we need to begin to look at irrigation seriously. As a country, our irrigation levels are way below the global average,” he said. 

Additionally, the government may have to provide special incentives for tractors operators and food transporters to help manage their fuel costs which would in turn, affect the final price of the food.

On the issue of irrigation, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) through its Upper East Regional Focal Person, Isaac Pabia has observed that the dams constructed in the Upper East Region under the government’s 1 Village 1 Dam policy are not fit for their intended purpose.

The government, under the New Patriotic Party (NPP), introduced the 1 Village 1 Dam policy to construct dams in all villages of Northern Ghana in fulfilment of the party’s 2016 campaign promise.

The ultimate aim of the policy was to construct the dams to enable farmers in the Northern part of Ghana to engage in all-year-round cultivation of crops to improve food security in the country and create jobs for the teaming unemployed youth which will in a long term, reduce urban migration from the North.

Sadly, the dams which cost the state coffers a whopping Ghc2.5 million each, according to the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana are not fit for use for irrigation purposes.

“The dams constructed in this region are very terrible. Most of the dams actually dry up within 2 months after the rain stops. PFAG has taken the position that those dams are not fit for purpose. We’ve done a lot of assessments on the 1 Village 1 Dam and we’ve come to realise that more work needs to be done on those dams. If we really want to serve farmers, we want to have water for all round-season farming, and also to water our livestock, then we need to work on the dams. The less I talk about them, the better. They are not in a good shape at all”, Mr. Pabia who doubles as National Secretary of PFAG lamented.

The outburst of frustration shared by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana regarding the nature of dams constructed in the Upper East Region confirms with an explicit documentary done by A1 Radio’s Joshua Asaah titled ‘Thirsty Dams of the North’.

The investigative piece exposed the shoddy nature of the dams constructed under the policy in the Upper East Region.

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