Workshop on fertilizer quality control in Africa opens
Accra, May 13, GNA – A two-day workshop to discuss issues relating to quality standards and control in the fertilizer value chain across Sub-Saharan African countries is underway in Accra.
The workshop, organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), brings together 50 participants from 13 African countries to share experiences and lessons learnt in the roll out of country-level fertilizer quality control regulations.
It would also provide opportunities for cross projects and country partnerships to enhance the development of good fertilizer quality control systems within and across countries.
Mr Clement Humado, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, opening the workshop said the legal and regulatory frameworks, which regulate and control manufacturing, processing, importation and sale of fertilizers needs to be at the center of Africa’s development agenda.
Mr Humado said African countries must adopt measures to facilitate timely access to quality fertilizers by smallholder farmers to address issues relating to fertilizer quality.
He said the average use of fertilizer in Africa was about 5-8 kilograms (kg) per hectare, which is below the recommendation agreed upon at the Abuja African Union Summit in 2006.
The goal is to grow applications of at least 50 kg per hectare from the 5-8 kg per hectare.
Mr Humado said Ghana’s consumption of fertilizer is growing rapidly due to the subsidy programme government has instituted to increase access to fertilizer by smallholder farmers.
He said the registered number of importers fertilizer companies stood at 45 in 2008, which has seen the volumes of fertilizers supplies in Ghana grow from 187,000 metric tons in 2008 to 458,000 metric tons in 2013.
Mr Humado said Ghana had benefited from the interventions of AGRA through technical and financial support to promote government agricultural policies and programmes.
He said African farmers needed quality agricultural inputs, particularly quality fertilizers and high-yielding crops varieties to make an impact in ensuring self-reliance and food security.
Mr Humado urged the private sector to invest in various areas of agriculture across Africa to achieve a hunger-free and poverty-free Africa since the sector brings capital, technical and organizational know-how to coordinate the various actors along the agricultural value chain.
Mr Bashir Jama, the Director of Soil Health Program at AGRA, said the outcome of the workshop was expected to bring relief to farmers who over the years been subjected to sub-standard fertilizer products by some fertilizer producers, importers and sellers across the continent.
Mr Jama said participants would share lessons on issues arising from fertilizer quality control implementation strategies across the 13 AGRA focal countries and deliberate on the way forward among stakeholders.
He said promoting soil health through various technologies and practices is critical to sustaining and improving agricultural productivity.
Mr Jama said through Integrated Soil Fertility Management technologies, it is imperative that fertilizer products need to be of required quality standards in order not to destroy the soil that sustains the life of plants but improves it quality to safeguard the environment.
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