This, he said, had become necessary because of the global shortage of inorganic fertiliser and its attendant high prices.
“The issue has to do with the shortage of organic fertiliser. We see that there is a switch because of the high prices of the inorganic fertiliser to organic liquid fertiliser which they (farmers) claim is not as effective as the NPK. But at least it is better than nothing!” Dr Akoto averred.
The Minister made the observation while briefing journalists at a maize farm at the Ghana Prison Service in Duayaw Nkwanta, Ahafo Region, during his regional working tour on Monday.
The six-day working tour, which began in Ahafo, will take the Minister to regions, including Bono, Bono East, Ashanti and Eastern.
As part of the trip, the Minister will undertake field tours to some project sites and farms and also use the opportunity to interact with farmers and acquaint himself with challenges confronting their activities.
According to Dr Akoto, he had been amazed so far by the cooperation of farmers regarding the use of organic fertilisers.
“I was amazed. I thought it was going to take a year or two to persuade farmers to switch, but necessity is the mother of all inventions so they are really making do with the constraints of the fertiliser shortage.
“From what we have seen the weather has been good. Wherever we have been we have seen the maize tasselling very well at this time of the year, and they all admit that compared to last year the rainfall has been excellent,” he said.
Earlier, DrAkoto paid a courtesy call on the Omanhene of Goaso Traditional Council, Nana KwasiBosomprah.
Receiving the Minister and his team, Nana Bosomprah expressed delight at the Minister’s visit to the region, adding that “as a cocoa farmer myself, I am very keen on agriculture”.
He bemoaned the fact that rains were not falling as expected, attributing the development to human activities, including indiscriminate cutting down of trees in the forests in the region.
He appealed to the Minister to ensure that farmers have more supply of fertilisers to aid them in their farming activities.
According to the Omanhene of Goaso, it was sad that farmers did not have any help in terms of pricing their commodities, lamenting that the situation had led to buyers giving any prices.
He, therefore, called for the introduction of pricing for farm produce from the food basket regions to avoid cheating and exploitation of farmers.
The minister said it was crucial for the government to change some of the existing laws to make agriculture more lucrative, especially to the youth.
He also made a strong case for better offices for agriculture offices in the region.
In response, DrAkoto admitted that the high prices of food products on the markets were of a concern to the government.
He assured that the government was working on bringing scales to support the pricing of food products.
Again, he disclosed that the government had imported machines from Brazil to help in rice production in the country, hence promised that 10 of the millers would be brought to the region to support rice farmers.
Other places visited by the Minister included the Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant (IRECoP) at AhoduomNkwanta in the Asunafo North Municipality.