By Gideon D. Ebbah, GNA
Effiduase (Ash), Sept. 18, GNA – Mr Daniel Attivor, the General Manager of Sidalco Limited, a giant agro-business firm in Ghana has underscored the need for an intensive country-wide farmer education on best on-farm fertilizer application to ensure increased soil fertility and per hectare crop yield.
He said though the government’s intervention to increase access to fertilizer acquisition by farmers was laudable, the lack of farmers’ knowledge and understanding of soil composition and conditions of their farm lands, led to the wrong fertilizer application and poor outcomes.
“It is needful for the government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) as well as COCOBOD to assess the soil conditions of the farmlands, before fertilizers are distributed to farmers to ensure efficient use,” he added.
Mr Attivor was speaking at a day’s training event on “Effective Fertilizer Application”, organized by his outfit and another partner at Effiduase in the Sekyere East District of Ashanti.
About150 farmers selected from various famer co-operatives associations participated in the ‘Training of Trainers’ (TOT) event, which had the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), as the collaborator.
The participants’ knowledge were deepened on the soil’s condition such as the ‘potential of Hydrogen’ (pH), a critical factor that determined the acidity of the soil-a determinant of the plant’s ability to optimally and efficiently utilize the nutrients in the soil.
They were also sensitized on the various developmental stages in plant developments, when and how to apply the fertilizer at each different stage, for optimal results.
The General Manager took the opportunity to introduce to them a soil neutralizer product called “Calciprill”, a Sidalco product which had the capacity to neutralize the acidity to ensure a good soil pH balance.
Mr Attivor said so far, 2,500 metric tonnes of the “Calciprill” had been purchased by COCOBOD for distribution to farmers across the cocoa growing areas in the country and urged the farmers to cooperate with their extension agents and follow the requisite procedures of the products’ usage.
Mr. Isaac Bentum, the Effiduase District Cocoa Officer commended Sidalco for the training program and said the training was geared at augmenting and sustaining the growth, productivity and investments of farmers.
He said it was therefore very necessary for famers to seek constant advice and guidance from their extension officers and agents before the application of fertilizers on their farms in order to attain the right results without any form of wastage.
Mr Attivor said so far, 2,500 metric tonnes of the “Calciprill” product produced by the Sidalco Ltd. had been purchased by COCOBOD for distribution to farmers across the cocoa growing areas in the country and urged the farmers to cooperate with their extension agents and follow the requisite procedures of the products’ usage.
Mr Samuel Adjare, President of the Sekyere East Mondelez International Cocoa Life (MICL) Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union, also commended Sidalco and CHED for the initiative.
“I am hopeful that the training was going help save participants’ investments in fertilizer, which mostly went waste with lack of knowledge of their soil conditions,” he added.
He urged other farmers to register with farmers’ groups and cooperatives which were well-coordinated and structured, through which members could seek and follow instructions as well as advice on good agronomic practices, access to new technologies and other vital information in the agricultural sector, from their extension agents.