By Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Bolgatanga, Nov. 17, GNA – The government has been urged to mainstream organic fertilizer into the national agriculture policies and programmes such as the fertilizer subsidy to promote sustainable agriculture production and healthy living.
“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 the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and District Departments of Food and Agriculture”.
The call came from the Coalition for the Advancement of Organic Farming (CAOF), an NGO and was based on the findings of study, it conducted.
The study was carried out with funding support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenged (BUSAC) Fund and its development partners – Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the European Union and the USAID.
CAOF has been working closely with farmers in Ghana to promote organic farming in the country.
The study sought to establish “the extent to which organic agriculture has been considered in current agriculture policies and programmes in Ghana under the Appropriate Inputs and Certification for Organic Farming Project”, in selected districts in the Upper East and Northern Region.
Disseminating the findings and recommendations of the Research at a forum in Bolgatanga, Mr George Lapointe Agana, the Coordinator of NGO, said majority of the respondents in the research agreed that people who ate more organic foods looked healthier and lived longer.
“There is every indication that organic agriculture promotes healthy environment, less pollution and not only increases soil fertility but sustains it as well.”
“Organic agriculture promotes sustainable farming and healthy living unlike chemical fertilizers that degrade the soils.
Also, organic agriculture is a tool and system for mitigating climate change”.
He therefore asked that the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme catered adequately for the needs of organic farmers.
MOFA should ensure proper integration of livestock and crops so that the bi-products from animals could be used for organic fertilizer.
He said the study identified bureaucratic and cumbersome processes involved in certifying organic products in Ghana, inadequate knowledge on the part of farmers of the requirements for organic certification and ignorance about the risk of contamination of products with insecticides and other chemicals as some of the challenges confronting organic farming in the country.
He recommended Private-Public Partnership in the organic agriculture sector and the need for the standards and certification processes of organic agriculture to be made friendly and accessible to farmers.
Mr Vincent Subbey, the Monitor of the BUSAC Fund, in his contribution asked the Coalition to embark on more sensitization and education of the people to deepen their understanding of the importance of organic agriculture.
That, he noted, would lead to organic movement and grassroots-based organic food production, consumption and marketing using local organic market outlets.
The study was conducted in Bolgatanga and Kassena-Nankana Municipalities, Bongo, Nabdam, Talensi, Bulisa South, Bulisa North, Garu/Tempane, and Binduri Districts in the Upper East and the Tamale Metropolis, Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo, West Maprusi, East Maprusi and the Gushiagu/Karaga Districts in the Northern Region.