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FERARI is a public-private program in Ghana that integrates an on-the-ground implementation program to develop the fertilizer value chain with transdisciplinary research by Ph.D. and postdoctoral researchers, supervised by internationally renowned universities, and to build the research capacity at the involved institutions.

The overall objective of the program is to develop the evidence base for the need of a systematic approach to support widespread adoption of balanced fertilizers by farmers in the less developed markets of sub-Saharan African countries, specifically Ghana, as a means to improve their food and nutrition security.

FERARI activities run from 2019 to 2024 and are co-funded by OCP, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), IFDC, and other involved institutions.

The overall objective of the program is to develop the evidence base for the need of a systematic approach to support widespread adoption of balanced fertilizers.

Sub-Objectives

  • Develop on-the-ground experience in pre-competitive activities to create appropriate market conditions for balanced fertilizers and their widespread adoption by farmers.
  • Convert tacit knowledge into formal knowledge to allow more effective science-based up- and out-scaling of practical approaches.
  • Train highly qualified Ph.D. and postdoctoral researchers to enter the international research and implementation market after graduation.
  • Strengthen the transdisciplinary scientific capabilities of involved institutions.

Partners

Goals Met

  • Aligned activities with the Ghanaian governmental programs “Planting for Food and Jobs” and the “Fertilizer Expansion Program.”
  • Ensured commitment from a large network of relevant actors to help transform Ghana’s fertilizer sector.
  • Engaged several Ghanaian research institutions in the execution of the program.

Implementation Component

The implementation component of the program involves identifying the location-specific need for balanced fertilization and demonstrating the benefits through co-experimentation with farmers. The legally registered Fertilizer Platform Ghana, which brings together multiple relevant stakeholders along the value chain, has been established to promote discussion and align the actions of stakeholders in the fertilizer and food value chain for smooth operations and improved access to fertilizers and other agronomic interventions for farmers.


Research Component

The program incorporates a transdisciplinary research component that will inform the implementation program. Along with the scientific staff of FERARI, about 80 master’s and bachelor’s students from Ghanaian universities and UM6P (through September 2022), five Ghanaian doctoral students who will graduate from Wageningen University and Research or UM6P, and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Liège and UM6P will perform in-depth studies to understand the agro-technical improvement, effectiveness of (novel) fertilizers, economic viability of the system, and the processes needed to align multiple stakeholders to act in an orchestrated manner.


Linkages and Partnerships

This program builds strong linkages with ongoing programs of the Ghanaian government, particularly the Planting for Food and Jobs program and the Fertilizer Expansion Programme. It will also interact with ongoing programs of involved parties to enhance its impact and accelerate activities that stimulate sustainable agricultural intensification in Ghana.


Transdisciplinary Training

The master’s-, doctoral-, and postdoctoral-level researchers are trained in a transdisciplinary manner, which allows them to think outside their own disciplinary boxes, to ease their interaction with scientists from other disciplines, and to develop a sense for interaction with stakeholders in the field to fine-tune their research insights to practical applicability.

The research will be co-supervised by staff from the involved universities and institutions. These include IFDC, Mohammed VI Technical University, Wageningen University and Research, University of Liège, University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the University for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast, Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Soil Research Institute, and CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute.

2022

  • Demonstrated and conducted 450 on-station, on-farm, and farmer-managed fertilizer response trials of maize, rice, and soybean to about 2,000 farmers.
  • Conducted activities using a transdisciplinary approach, with 30 master’s-level students and nine universities in Ghana, Morocco, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
  • Trained 13 master’s-level graduates from UM6P and are now employed in various international companies in North and West Africa and others pursuing doctoral courses in the United States of America and Morocco.
  • Supported five doctoral students from Wageningen University and UM6P who have conducted initial surveys as well as fertilizer response trials and are in their second stages of research work.

2021

  • Conducted 350 on-station and on-farm fertilizer response trials of maize, rice, and soybean and demonstrated these to about 2,000 farmers.
  • Established the Fertilizer Platform Ghana, which is currently registered as a private entity and operates according to its own constitution. 
  • Supported the work of two postdocs at the University of Liège, who are developing and testing innovative nano-based fertilizers.

2020

  • Conducted 225 on-station and on-farm fertilizer response trials of maize, rice, and soybean in collaboration with two research centers, which were demonstrated to about 1,000 farmers.
  • Completed a baseline survey of 1,450 farmers to understand farm livelihoods.
  • Through stakeholder surveys, designed a Ghana National Fertilizer Platform that is being established.
  • Developing soil mapping expertise as a step toward an IT platform.

2019

  • Aligned activities with the Ghanaian governmental programs “Planting for Food and Jobs” and the “Fertilizer Expansion Program.”
  • Ensured commitment from a large network of relevant actors to help transform Ghana’s fertilizer sector.
  • Engaged several Ghanaian research institutions in the execution of the program.

Quarterly Newsletters

2024

March 2024

2023

January 2023

June 2023

September 2023

2022

January 2022

April 2022

July 2022

October 2022

2021

January 2021

April 2021

July 2021

October 2021

2020

April 2020

July 2020

October 2020

Report 2: Yield Responses of Maize to Fertilizers in Ghana
Bua, S., K. El Mejahed, D. MacCarthy, D.S. Adogoba, I.N. Kissiedu, W.K. Atakora, M. Fosu, and P.S. Bindraban

Report 3: The Ghana Fertilizer Platform Study
Iddrisu, Y., P.S. Bindraban, W.K. Atakora, B.T. Aremu, P. Annequin, K. Kouassi, A. Fernando, R. Wheeler, and F. Gyasi

Journal Articles

  • Anselme K.K. KouamePrem S. BindrabanIsaac N. KissieduWilliams K. AtakoraKhalil El Mejahed, 2023. Identifying drivers for variability in maize (Zea mays L.) yield in Ghana: A meta-regression approach. Agricultural Systems, Vol. 209, 103667. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2023.103667
  • Christian Dimkpa, William Adzawla, Renu Pandey, Williams K. Atakora, Anselme K. Kouame, Martin Jemo, Prem S. Bindraban, 2023. Fertilizers for food and nutrition security in sub-Saharan Africa: An overview of soil health implications. Front. Soil Sci., 3:1123931. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoil.2023.1123931/full
  • Toyib B. Aremu, Comfort Y. Freeman, Abdelaali Laamari, Yakubu Iddrisu, Williams K. Atakora, Prem S. Bindraban, 2023. Informing the design of a multistakeholder platform in Ghana using stakeholder analysis and social network analysis. Outlook on Agriculture. 52(2). https://doi.org/10.1177/00307270231165323
  • Mohamed Boullouz, Prem S. Bindraban, Isaac N. Kissiedu, Anselme K. K. Kouame, Krishna P. Devkota, Williams K. Atakora, 2022. An integrative approach based on crop modeling and geospatial and statistical analysis to quantify and explain the maize (Zea mays) yield gap in Ghana. Front. Soil Sci. 2:1037222. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoil.2022.1037222/full
  • Hammond Abeka, Innocent Y. D. Lawson, Eric Nartey, Thomas Adjadeh, Stella Asuming-Brempong, Prem S. Bindraban, Williams K. Atakora, 2022. Effectiveness of neem materials and biochar as nitrification inhibitors in reducing nitrate leaching in a compost-amended Ferric Luvisol. Front. Soil Sci. 2:1023743. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoil.2022.1023743/full
  • William Adzawla, Prem S. Bindraban, Williams K. Atakora, Oumou Camara, Amadou Gouzaye, 2022. Economic viability of smallholder agriculture in the Savannah and Transitional zones of Ghana: Implications of farm output commercialization and farm diversification. Sustainability 2022, 14, 11548. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811548
  • Edward Martey, Prince M. Etwire, William Adzawla, Williams Atakora, Prem S. Bindraban, 2022. Perceptions of COVID-19 shocks and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in Ghana. Journal of Environmental Management 320: 115810. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115810
  • William Adzawla, Williams K. Atakora, Isaac N. Kissiedu, Edward Martey, Prince M. Etwire, Amadou Gouzaye, Prem S. Bindraban, 2021 Characterization of farmers and the effect of fertilization on maize yields in the Guinea Savannah, Sudan Savannah, and Transitional agroecological zones of Ghana. EFB Bioeconomy Journal Vol. 1, Nov 2021, 100019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bioeco.2021.100019

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