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US ambassador Palmer: Fertiliser shortage will be addressed soon

Ambassador Virginia Palmer says as a result of the war in Ukraine, the US has made funding available to produce inorganic fertilisers to help boost African economies

The US ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer has said her outfit is collaborating with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to make organic fertilisers available in the interim to deal with the shortage of the commodity following the war in Ukraine.

She said the US is committed to addressing the current fertiliser shortage in the country.

In a visit to Tamale in the Northern Region, the ambassador acknowledged that the Russia-Ukraine war is having serious repercussions on Africa. She said as a result, the US has made funding available to produce inorganic fertilisers to help boost African economies.

US interventions in Northern Ghana

The US government has been providing a number of interventions in northern Ghana. Key among these interventions include the provision of health facilities, providing skills training to combat cross border crime and also working to ensure that communities attain open dedication free (ODF) status.

Palmer visited Boakurugu, an ODF community in the Sagnarigu District, Northern Region, to congratulate them on their sanitation feat.

The community attained ODF in August 2021 after eight months of community engagement, under Global Communities erstwhile WASH for Health Project #W4H. Boakurugu now boasts of 63 household latrines, 61 tippy-taps, 59 constructed soakaways and a clean environment.

The ambassador, who was enskinned the Boakurugu sanitation queen, was impressed with the community’s progress and pledged to support the 25 communities with funds from the American people, under the WASH project.

Threat of violence 

Palmer met with peace and security, economic empowerment, public health, media, and development partners during the two-day trip. USAID Ghana Mission Director Kimberly Rosen accompanied the ambassador.

“Northern Ghana is an absolute priority for the United States, which is why I’m here on my first trip. From the young people, entrepreneurs, farmers, and civil society and traditional leaders I’ve met, it’s clear this region holds incredible potential. I am already thinking about my next trip back,” said Palmer.

The ambassador met Northern regional minister and chairman of the regional security council Shani Alhassan Shaibu. They discussed U.S. government support for economic and human development in the region and community-based efforts to detect and prevent violent extremism.

Commenting on the recent threat of violent extremism in the sub-region, the US ambassador called for collaboration to deal with the increasing threat to enhance economic growth within the region.

Shea business

During a visit to the Nuts For Growth shea processing plant, ambassador Palmer helped launch the Global Shea Alliance and MasterCard Foundation’s Shea Business Empowerment Programme. The programme will work with local shea collectors to transform their informal operations into well-structured small businesses and cooperatives that can more readily achieve economies of scale to participate in the global market for shea.

Nuts For Growth is also a recipient of a US$980,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to catalyse private investment and expand incomes of 20,000 women farmers in the region.

Later, meeting with representatives of the USAID Women in Agriculture Platform, Ambassador Palmer heard about their concerns and challenges with land tenure, water management, and, most recently, fertiliser scarcity.

She also met with local alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and other U.S. government exchange programmes. Before departing Tamale, Ambassador Palmer met with Hajia Dr. Kansanwurche Azara Bukari, President of the Savannah Region Queen Mothers Association to discuss the critical role of traditional leaders in Ghana.

Baba Kamil

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