Smallholder farmers at Pong Tamale in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality of the Northern Region have embraced a new fertilizer application technology, which aids them to save cost and enhance their yields.
The technology dubbed: “Biochar” is a natural fertilizer made from rice husk, chicken droppings, and charcoal which are mixed to form compost, and also pesticide.
The project initiated by the Abokobi Society of Switzerland, a local farming organisation, has been assisting farmers with free organic composts, which has an extra advantage of holding water and nutrients needed by the crops.
Some of the farmers expressed their satisfaction when the organisation led by Mr Peter Billa, the Project Coordinator of Biochar Compost, paid a working visit to some of the farms of the beneficiaries to ascertain the progress of the application of the compost.
Mr Emmanuel Allegye – Cudjoe, the Director of Pong Tamale Veterinary Service, and a beneficiary, said the use of the fertiliser had helped to improve on the farming activities, in both the crops and poultry production.
It had also led to the expansion of his farm, while he had employed about 15 people to assist in the farming.
He noted that the use of the new technology doubled his yield of about 15 bags of cereal, last year, and urged other farmers to also adopt the technology this farming season because the inorganic fertilisers were degrading the soil.
Mr Peter Billa said farmers across the country and most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, mostly used only one kind of fertiliser that had been recommended to them, irrespective of their soil fertility and agro-ecology, but this was not helping in the improvements in yields.
“These blanket fertilizer recommendations concentrate on the macronutrients-nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and usually do not include the secondary nutrients-sulphur, magnesium and calcium, nor micronutrients, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron and molybdenum,” he said.
“Soil fertility in Ghana and most parts of Africa has reduced, leading to poor yields. The situation is worsened by the broadcasting application method of fertiliser, which yields only about a third of its intended results.”
However, he said, the Biochar was one of the most appropriate for providing the needed nutrients to the food crops, with only 10 per cent going to waste”.
Mr Billa explained that each year, farmers within the deprived communities were given hundred bags of the compost as way of his outfit contributing to the economy and complementing government’s quest towards attaining food sufficiency. GNA