- As ‘Cocoa Nti Fertiliser’ is launched
As the country explores avenues to boost its national cocoa output, cocoa farmers have been tasked to adopt the use of more effective and scientifically approved agronomic practices that can help increase their yields.
The call comes with the introduction of a new cocoa fertilizer – ‘Cocoa Nti Fertiliser’ – that is uniquely designed to significantly increase productivity of cocoa.
The fertiliser, produced by the Agricultural Manufacturing Group (AMG), is radically different from existing cocoa fertilisers currently used by cocoa farmers in the country. Compared to the other fertilisers on the market, this new fertiliser has been produced to increase their yields and consequently revenues generated from cocoa farming.
The General Manager of AMG, Mr. Henry Otoo-Mensah, speaking at the backdrop of the launch of the fertiliser,at New Edubiase, said the unique nutrient composition of the fertiliser induces the cocoa tree itself to fully realise its potential yield- regardless of all external conditions which affect cocoa.
He explained that the fertiliser helps to produce high-quality pods, heavier and bigger beans with the introduction of high percentage of nitrate nitrogen in the ‘Cocoa Nti Fertiliser’. Additionally, he said the fertiliser has been produced in such a way that it is able to retain 100 percent of its nutrients even after heavy rains.
He said the fertilizer is composed of nitrate-nitrogen, calcium, potassium and boron, which are all good to increase yield and revenue generated.
“One of the main responsibilities as an agriculture manufacturer is to support and partner the COCOBOD technically and logistically, enabling it to continue the crucial role it is playing to shape growth of the country’s cocoa sector,” he stated.
“It should be a shared responsibility instead of leaving everything for government alone to do. AMG will not rest but continue to engage our cherished farmers, share knowledge and build capacity to make informed choices which enable farmers to adopt best agronomical practices and boost yields higher.”
AMG, as a part of its corporate responsibilities, he said, will always provide the needed assistance to farmers in order to sustain their cocoa farms.
Mr. Otoo-Mensah said the ‘Cocoa Nti Fertiliser’ has been approved and tested by COCOBOD and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), which are in charge of cocoa monitoring in the country.
He said upon a series of trials by CRIG, a cocoa bean that has been applied with the Cocoa Nti fertiliser weighs 2 to 2.5 grammes instead of the normal 0.5 to 1 gramme. With this improvement, he noted, a farmer will be able to at least easily achieve double his yield using ‘Cocoa Nti Fertiliser’.
At the moment, according to the AMG boss, efforts are ongoing to make the fertiliser available at subsidised cost to farmers.
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mr. George Oduro, said – given how cocoa is important to the Ghanaian economy – every effort must be made to support cocoa productivity in the country.
While acknowledging that some of the unique components of the ‘Cocoa Nti fertiliser’ cannot be found in other conventional fertilizers on the market, he recommended it to the farmers for use and also asked them to support efforts by government to increase production of the crop.
For instance, the hand-pollination exercise introduced last year toward boosting cocoa yields of cocoa farmers across the country is expected see an increase from 10,000 to 20,000 the youths engaged to assist in the programme this year.
So far, through this initiative, farmers are recording an average yield of 20 bags of cocoa from a hectare of cocoa farm as at December 2017.