A new system is being set up by The International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC), an independent non-profit organisation, with policy makers at national and international levels to make fertiliser affordable to farmers.
Before hand, the governments has been doing their best to provide farmers all over the world with fertiliser on a sustainable basis to enable them produce crops that will feed the entire population but the price of fertiliser on the world market is not helping matters.
The organisation has also made sure that they lower the cost of production by employing a systematic approach at the supply chain level which will in turn lower the price of fertilisers for farmers.
The Regional Director, North and West Africa, IFDC, Dr Oumou Camara, disclosed this to journalists during the first open-door event to celebrate the IFDC’s 20 years of developing agriculture in Ghana in Accra yesterday.
The event, which was organised by the IFDC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, also enabled the organisation to highlight its expertise and the solutions it has been providing to address the challenges facing agriculture.
Providing some statistics through the IFDC’s AfricaFertliser.Org, an initiative that provides statistics on fertiliser, Dr Camara said prices for Urea, for instance, had kept rising from 2010 up to this year.
In 2010, the government paid GH¢16 per 50-kilogramme bag of Urea and the farmer paid GH¢18.
In 2021, the government paid GH¢52 per 50kg bag of Urea and the farmer paid GH¢100.
In 2022, farmers are likely to pay more per 50kg bag of Urea because prices have shot up to between GH¢300 and GH¢350 per 50kg bag of Urea because international prices are on the rise.
Furthermore, during the first quarter (January to March) of 2019, urea price on the international market was averagely GH¢246 per tonne and was sold on the retail market in Ghana at an average of GH¢377. In the fourth quarter of 2021 (October to December), fertiliser was sold on the International market for GH¢805 per tonne, but in Ghana it sold at GH¢947 per tonne.
This translates into an increase of about 227 per cent from the first quarter of 2019 to the last quarter of 2021 for international prices and 151 per cent increase on the retail market.
Many factors affected the increase in international prices, including soaring of gas prices, which increased production cost, leading to the shutting down of some fertiliser producing plants and fertiliser export restrictions by some producer countries.
Dr Camara further explained that many things came to play regarding affordability issues.
One of them, she explained, was that on the international market, prices of fertiliser kept rising, which subsequently led to price increases in fertiliser on the local market, hence the government’s subsidy interventions.
According to her, it was equally important to look at the scenario where a farmer bought fertiliser but was not able to sell his or her farm produce at competitive prices to be able to rake in enough revenue to purchase fertiliser for the next farming season, after deducting the cost of the fertiliser and other production costs, such as transportation.
Another area to look at, she noted, was getting access to the necessary credit facilities and the lack of storage facilities, all of which should be considered when affordability issues came to play.
Dr Camara said the IFDC was prepared to help farmers form groups to be able to access finance or credit facilities to support their farming activities.
She observed that between 2018 and 2019, the IFDC supported the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative by providing research findings to ensure the supply of quality fertiliser to enhance high yield.