The food and environment we love; Examining the ‘on-the-ground’ application of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship in Ghana

Dickson BOATENG*, Christopher ATKINSON, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Evans Amoako AMOAH

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


The past few years have witnessed emphasis on food security and sustainable farming— Sustainable Development Goal 2, zero hunger. Discourse on food production highlight knowledge and sources of advice on fertilisers use appears to influence farmers' efficient application of fertilisers. Yet, the research literature is silent on farmers' knowledge of fertilisers, its use and impacts on the environment in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper sets out to investigate the knowledge farmers have on the environment and analyse if they apply fertilisers in an environmentally efficient manner. Data was pulled from face-to-face administered questionnaires with 635 farmers in the Offinso Municipality, Ghana. Results showed that 94.0% of the farmers did apply fertilisers. Further, 47.8% of the 594 farmers who applied fertilisers relied on their accumulated knowledge with none applying fertilisers in accordance with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship — right type, right place, right time, and right rate. However, 60.6% of those who applied fertilisers were not aware that the inefficient application of fertilisers could harm the environment. Although the key role of extension officers in sustainable farming was acknowledged by farmers, access to extension services remained a problem. This paper suggests that extension officers should be supported by the agricultural institutions and the government to implement the 4R Nutrient Stewardship guidelines at the ground level to promote sustainable farming. Also, extension officers seeking to promote sustainable farming must intensify efforts in disseminating information on the 4Rs to farmers to secure the food and protect the environment we love.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100481
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Sciences and Humanities Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • 4Rs
  • Agriculture extension
  • Environment
  • Food security
  • Ghana
  • Sustainable farming


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