GHANA – The Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SRI) is taking a significant step in addressing the fertilizer needs of Ghanaian farmers by training 38 carefully selected young individuals in producing bio-fertilizers.
Bio-fertilizers contain living microorganisms that, when applied to seeds, plant surfaces, or soil, colonize the plant’s interior and stimulate growth.
Dr. Edward Yeboah, the Director of CSIR-SRI, highlighted the importance of harnessing available knowledge to reduce the country’s unemployment rate. He emphasized that agriculture had immense potential to transform Ghana’s economy, making bio-fertilizer production a crucial factor in lowering fertilizer costs, increasing food production, and enhancing farmers’ profit margins.
This initiative, the ECOWAS Youth Training on Bio-fertilizer Production and Business Development, was made possible with funding from the African Union Commission through the ECOWAS Commission, supported by the government of Ghana.
The training program is designed to expose participants to bio-fertilizers, including their types, applications, concepts, compost production, biochar production technology, marketing bio-fertilizers as business enterprises, and developing carbon markets for smallholder farmers.
Furthermore, participants will learn how to treat bio-fertilizers in Sawah eco-technology, a method for planting lowland rice in well-prepared soil beds that can retain water for rice seedling planting.
Dr. Yeboah emphasized the need for technologies that can address the challenges posed by climate change recently and reaffirmed the CSIR-SRI’s commitment to producing bio-fertilizers to ensure sustainable food production in Ghana. The institute will continue to support the trainees, contributing to the transformation of Ghana’s economy.
Dr. Fuseini Issaka, a Research Scientist, explained that participants would form groups to create comprehensive budgeted business plans, which will be submitted to ECOWAS. These plans could pave the way for the youth to engage in large-scale bio-fertilizer production, meeting the country’s fertilizer demands.
Over the years, a challenge has been that individuals have produced fertilizers in their ways and have struggled to brand their products effectively. This training aims to address this issue, ensuring that the youth undergo proper branding, marketing, and link to potential businesses along the fertilizer value chain to meet market demands.
The CSIR-Soil Research Institute’s initiative not only empowers young individuals but also contributes to the sustainable growth of Ghana’s agriculture sector while fostering economic development.