Fact Check

Ghanaian Minister’s claim that NDC government did not import fertilizer for farmers in 2015 is completely false

Claim: The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, has claimed that the highest fertilizer imports before they (NPP) came into office were less than 200,000 metric tonnes and that in 2015 the NDC government did not import even a bag of fertilizer into the country.  

Data from the Africa Fertilizer Organization, the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), Ghana Fertilizer Dashboard, and Statista, a global data sourcing hub show that in 2015 Ghana imported over 200,000 tonnes of fertilizers into the country.

Full Text 

The Minister of Agriculture Dr Afriyie Akoto has said that during the tenure of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), its highest import of fertilizer was less than 200,000 metric tonnes. He added that in the year 2015 the NDC government did not import fertilizer into the country. 

According to him, “Before we (NPP) came into power, the highest import of fertilizer had not surpassed 200,000 metric tonnes. When NDC came into government, its highest import of fertilizer was 180,000 metric tonnes. There was a year that they did not import fertilizer. And that year was 2015. They did not even import a bag of fertilizer.”

The claim was made on Hello FM. The shorter version of the show was posted on its YouTube channel called Despite Media, with over 2000 subscribers. The claim was made from the 00:50 seconds to 1 minute: 21 seconds of the show on August 6, 2022. It has garnered over 100 views so far.

Verification 

According to the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ghana imports almost all the fertilizer it consumes. The role of fertilizers is to increase yield and ensure healthy produce by supplying the right balance of nutrients to the soil. Ghana uses primarily nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK), urea, sulfate of ammonia, and bulk organic compost fertilizer.  

However, looking into the claims by the Minister of Agriculture, DUBAWA decided to find out from agricultural data sources the tonnes of fertilizer imported into the country prior to 2017. Our first research lens was directed to data from the fertilizer statistics overview on Ghana by the Africa Fertilizer Organization and the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) from 2015 to 2019. It revealed there were over 290,156 metric tonnes of fertilizers imported into the country in 2015.

Source: Africa Fertilizer Organization and International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC)

Moreover, the Ghana Fertilizer Dashboard, a dashboard that visualizes key information on Ghana’s fertilizer sector also cites 290,102 as the figure for fertilizer import in 2015. This is after we summed up all the figures from January to October.

It should be noted that the data on the Ghana Fertilizer Dashboard excludes  November and December data, which basically means there was no import of fertilizer in those months. But collating the figures from January to October, fertilizer import into Ghana surpasses 200,000 metric tonnes.

The evidence is more concrete from the data on fertilizer statistics overview on Ghana by the Africa Fertilizer Organization and the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) in 2015 cited 25,669 metric tonnes of fertilizer imported in the fourth quarter. 

However, data from October to December, which is 25,669 metric tonnes for the fourth quarter, is almost similar to that of the data from the Ghana Fertilizer Dashboard, which also quotes 25,615 metric tonnes as data for October to December.

Source: Africa Fertilizer Organization and International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC)

Statista is also a global data sourcing hub. Its data also pegs fertilizer importation in 2015 at 290,156 metric tons. This figure is the second lowest from 2015 to 2019. In 2016, fertilizer importation for farmers was 239,883.  Within the reviewed timeframe which is from 2015 to 2019, the year 2017 reported the largest quantity of imported fertilizer, at 444,236 thousand metric tons. 

Conclusion 

Even though in November and December 2015, there was no import of fertilizer into the country, the claim by the Minister for Food and Agriculture that in 2015 there was no fertilizer import into the country is untrue. It is also false that fertilizer imports before the NPP government came into power did not surpass 200,000 metric tons.

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