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Liquid fertiliser introduced for cowpea farming
Posted on: 06-Jul-2013         Source: graphic
A liquid fertiliser capable of doubling or tripling the yields of cowpea per hectare has been introduced to farmers in the Northern Region.

The fertiliser, which is technically referred to as inoculants by agriculturalists, was developed by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) at Nyankpala in partnership with Embrapa Agrobiologia, a Brazilian agricultural institution.

Speaking to newsmen in Nyankpala to officially introduce the fertiliser to farmers, a senior technician at SARI, Mr Williams Atakora, who received training in the fertiliser production in Brazil, said trials by SARI indicated that the fertiliser was capable of increasing cowpea yields from 450 to over 2,000 kg per hectare.

He said all that a farmer needed was to purchase a sachet of the fertiliser, which cost about Gh¢10, and apply it to the seeds of the cowpea on the day of sowing.

“After applying the fertiliser to the seeds, it is important to allow them to dry under a shade before sowing them,” he advised.

He added that all seeds that had been inoculated must be sown on the same day. He added that a farmer, after inoculating his seeds with the fertiliser, did not need to apply “orthodox” fertilisers such as NPK or urea before realising the increase in yields.

Mr Atakora said 20 extension agents from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had already been trained to teach the inoculation technique to the farmers and a further 66 agents started training in May, this year.

He indicated that the innovation by SARI had attracted international attention, adding that “at the steering committee of the West and Central Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) held in Yamoussoukro in December, last year, the Ghanaian partner, Dr Mathias Fosu, was invited to present the results of the project.”

He added that after the presentation, “a proposal was made to scale up rhizobium inoculants production for distribution throughout West and Central Africa.”

An official of Embrapa Agrobiologia, who had been producing the same fertiliser for Brazilian farmers, Dr Lúcia Helena Boddey, said the success of the fertiliser would help to improve the nutritional needs of Ghanaian citizens.

She said the SARI’s success in developing the fertiliser made the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) consider supporting SARI to develop the product for onward distribution to other African countries.