Include organic fertilizer into the fertilizer subsidy programme-research

A research conducted by the Coalition for the Advancement of Organic Farming (CAOF), a Non-governmental Organization (NGO), has advocated the need for the government to increase the quantity of organic fertilizer into the fertilizer subsidy programme.
CAOF which has a membership of 17 Non-Governmental Organizations working closely with farmers in Ghana to promote organic farming in the country conducted the research on “the Extent to which Organic Agriculture has been considered in current Government’s Agriculture Policies and Programmes in Ghana under the Appropriate Inputs and Certification for Organic Farming Project”, in some selected Districts in the Upper East and Northern Regions.
The research which was carried out in some selected Districts in the Northern and Upper East Regions and funded by the the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund , stressed the urgent need for Ghana as a country to implement the African Union Declaration on Ecological Organic Agriculture.
Among some of the District the research was conducted included the Bongo District, Bolgatanga Municipal. Nabdam District, Talensi District, Bulisa South District, Bulisa North District, Garu/Tempane District, Binduri District, Kasena Nankana East District and Navrongo Municipal in the Upper East Region.
Others included the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District, Tamale Metropolis, West Maprusi District, East Maprusi District and the Gushiagu/Karaga District in the Northern Region.
“The time to mainstream Ecological Organic Agriculture into National Policies as declared by the African Union is now. The need for National Policy on Ecological Organic Agriculture is now. It is also time for Organic Desks to be established in all Regional Offices of MOFA and District Departments of Food and Agriculture”, the research stressed.
Majority of the respondents in the research who alluded to the fact that those who grow and eat more organic crops look healthier and live longer , also indicated that organic agriculture promote healthy environments and less pollution.
“Organic agriculture promotes sustainable farming and healthy living in Ghana. Organic Agriculture is relevant to the extent that mineral fertilizers are gradually degrading our soils. Also, organic agriculture is a tool and system for mitigating climate change”, the research pointed out.
Whilst also urging the government to ensure that the Planting for Food and Jobs programme cater adequately for the needs of organic farmers, it also underscored the need for MOFA to ensure the proper integration of livestock and crops to ensure complementarity so as for the bi-product from animals to be used for organic fertilizer.
The research which was made known at separate sensitization forums at Walewale in the Northern region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East region and Tumu in the Upper West region to share the findings , also stressed the need for organic products to satisfy issues of hygiene, traceability, pesticides and other forms of contaminations.
It also mentioned bureaucratic and cumbersome processes involved in certifying organic products in Ghana, inadequate knowledge on the part of farmers on the requirements for organic certification and ignorance on the part of farmers of the risk of contamination of products with insecticides and other chemicals as some of the challenges confronting organic farming.
Whilst the research recommended the need for Private-Public Partnership in the Organic Agriculture Sector, it also stressed the need for the standards and certification processes of organic agriculture to be friendlier and accessible to actors in the sector.
The Monitor of the BUSAC Fund, Mr Vincent Subbey in his contribution said the Coalition as a start, must embark on more sensitization and education of the populace on the importance of organic agriculture which will lead to organic movement and grassroots-based organic food production, consumption and marketing using local organic market outlets. He added that, this will assist especially smallholder farmers in converting to organic agriculture products and with increasing demand and patronage lobby government for legislation regarding organic inputs and certification.
By:  Samuel Adadi Akapule

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