The Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SRI) is training 38 selected youth in the production of bio-fertilizers as part of efforts to bridge the fertilizer needs gap of Ghanaian farmers.
Bio-fertilizers are substances that contain living micro-organisms which, when applied to seeds, plant surfaces or soil, colonize the interior of the plant and promote growth.
Dr. Edward Yeboah, Director, CSIR-SRI, speaking at the opening of a three-day ECOWAS Youth Training on Bio-fertilizer Production and Business Development at Kwadaso near Kumasi, said exploring and utilizing the available knowledge could reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
He said agriculture had a huge potential in transforming the economy of Ghana, and that was why bio-fertilizers production was necessary to ease fertilizer costs, increase food production and maximize farmers’ profit margins.
The training was funded by the African Union Commission through the ECOWAS Commission and supported by the government of Ghana.
The training will expose participants to types of bio-fertilizers, uses, concepts, compost production, biochar production technology, marketing of bio-fertilizers as business enterprises, and development of carbon markets for smallholder farmers.
Again, beneficiaries will be treating bio-fertilizer in Sawah eco-technology (a technology of planting lowland rice in a properly prepared soil bond to contain water for the planting of rice seedlings).
Dr. Yeboah indicated that there were other technologies that would address climate change issues confronting farming activities in recent times.
He said since the CSIR-SRI had been tasked to produce bio-fertilizers to ensure sustainable food production in Ghana, it would continue to provide the needed backstopping to beneficiaries of the training and jointly transform the economy of Ghana.
Dr. Fuseini Issaka, a Research Scientist, said participants would be made to form groups to come up with a comprehensive budgeted business plan for submission to ECOWAS.
Through this, the youth could be assisted in going into large scale bio-fertilizer production to meet the fertilizer needs in the country.
Dr. Issaka said the challenge over the years had been that people produce these fertilizers their own way and could not properly brand the products.
The training would, therefore, ensure that the youth would go through proper branding of these fertilizers, marketing and link to potential businesses along the fertilizer value chain and meet the market demands.