Ghana Soil Health Consortium advocates for soil health policy

The Ghana Soil Health Consortium is asking the government to introduce a policy to ensure farmers adhere to strict soil improvement practices.

The soil health policy being recommended will develop soil health diagnostic and management tools for improved agricultural advisory services.

The research NGO says this is critical to increasing agricultural productivity by discouraging bad farming practices which lower soil fertility.

Consortium Coordinator, Dr. Edward Yeboah, says falling incomes of agricultural practitioners could lead to food insecurity.

He points out the current situation is a disincentive to youth involvement in farming.

“Currently farmers are getting very low yields because they are not applying the best practices so they invest labour, and time to their agric practices but get very little out of it”, Dr. Yeboah worriedly stated.

According to him, if farmers do not adhere to good farming practices, the soil will continue to decline in fertility and a time will come when farmers will face an uphill task to provide food to feed the country.

The Ghana Soil Health Consortium is a coalition of agricultural stakeholders for promoting sustainable use of soil in Ghana.

It has developed fact sheets that give overall activities of the need to apply organic fertilizers not in isolation but with inorganic to enhance soil fertility.

Dr. Yeboah says the soil health policy should be incorporated into the Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM).

ISFM looks at how farmers can effectively and appropriately combine both organic and inorganic fertilizer for improved soil fertility.

It also indicates that fertilizer recommendations be soil-tested based instead on a blanket recommendation for all types of soils in the country.

Again, it will identify, develop and validate appropriate integrated soil fertility management technologies and practices to halt the degradation and restoration of agricultural soils for wide-scale adoption.

In a communiqué issued after the consortium met at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Soil Research Institute earlier this month on soil sustainability project, it suggested that;

In a bid to encourage more farmers to employ the Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) practices become one of the major criteria for overall BEST FARMER selection for Farmers’ Day celebrations.

They also recommend that an award could be instituted for the ISFM-practicing farmer during the celebrations.