Business News of Saturday, 13 April 2013
Dr Alfred Arthur, a Research Scientist at the Crop Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), on Friday advised cocoa farmers to apply only certified fertilizer from the Ghana COCOBDOD on their farms, to increase yield.
He recommended the application of “Asaase Wura and Nitrabor”, which is the best fertilizer on the local market. Dr Arthur said, according to CRIG research, the fertilizer would guarantee the production of quality cocoa beans to meet the international market requirement. Nitrabor, he explained contained Nitrogen, Calcium and boron, which were resistance to diseases.
Dr Arthur gave the advice when he addressed more than 50 cocoa farmers at a farmer’s forum at Goaso, the Asunafo North District capital, in the Brong-Ahafo Region. The forum was organised by Yara, Minerals and Fertilizer Company, which supplies, sells and distributes fertilizer. It was aimed at sensitizing the farmers on best farm management practices and proper application of fertilizer.
Dr Arthur explained that the CRIG had also researched into and came out with approved new hybrid of cocoa seed, available at districts offices of the COCOBOD in the country. This new cocoa seed, he explained had the possibility to increase yield, and was immune to the famous black pod disease as compared to other cocoa seeds.
Dr Arthur said proper fertilizer application determined the weight and quality of cocoa beans, and reminded farmers that it takes five to six days for cocoa beans to ferment. He said every acre of cocoa farm should contain 435 cocoa trees, which require three bags of fertilizer. Dr Arthur said some cocoa beans were rejected at the international market because of misapplication of fertilizer and poor fermentation of cocoa beans.
He advised the farmers to heed advice from cocoa extension officers to enable them to produce good quality cocoa beans. Alhaji Mohammed Doku, Asunafo North Municipal Chief Executive, said government was committed to ensuring that cocoa production in the country increases.
He said since cocoa continued to remain the “life blood” of Ghana’s economy and government would continue to support farmers to produce more, especially by subsidizing the cost of fertilizer and providing other incentives for farmers. Alhaji Doku advised the farmers to regard their farming activities as business, and inject more capital into it.
Mr Henry Otoo-Mensah, Retail Sales Manager of Yara, explained that the forum was being organised in 16 cocoa producing communities in the country with 2,600 farmers targeted to benefit.