Smallholder farmers schooled on fertiliser application

•    Some of the farmers applying the fertiliser.

• Some of the farmers applying the fertiliser.

Smallholder farmers in the Northern Region of Ghana have adopted the use of appropriate fertiliser protocols and application skills mainly in the production of maize and other cereals.

The farmers who were taken through some training process on best agronomic techniques, good agricultural practices, harvest and post-harvest handling to ensure proper application of quality fertiliser to increase food security saw the need to purchase the right fertiliser for their crops.

Yara Ghana has so far supported the establishment of 130 crop demonstrations farms 100 maize demos and 30 rain-fed rice demos with premium Yara fertilisers in collaboration with the USAID/ADVANCE Project in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions during the 2015 production season.

The project is also to ensure that the farmers comply with the right method of application without mixing any chemical to the fertiliser in order to harvest the needed yields which would go a long way to improve their living conditions.

About 13,000 farmers from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions have benefitted from series of training on good agricultural practices which will help boost crop production.

A visit by the project team to some crop demonstration farms at Ticheli, Surugu and Tibung, to ascertain the progress of work saw farmers applying the second phase of the fertiliser to the crops with excitement because the new technology has come to help boost production.

According to the farmers, the introduction of the fertiliser —YaraMilaActyva by Yara Ghana, a leading fertiliser supplier in partnership with USAID funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) has helped improve the crop quality and expects to harvest more.

Adamu Abdul-Rahman, a farmer, said that, previously they used other fertilisers that did not guarantee high yield thereby discouraging most from cultivating the following year.

He appealed to other farmers to adopt the new technology to generate the needed yields to improve their livelihoods.

He commended Yara and USAID/ADVANCE for the support adding that without the assistance, farmers within the Ticheli community would not have known that there were such quality fertilisers that could help increase yields.

Madam Tuohatu Abubakari, also a farmer and member of Tutinyam Women Association noted that, lack of funds compelled the association to buy poor quality fertilisers which affected their production.

She stated that the intervention of Yara and USAID/ADVANCE had taught them the need to acquire quality fertiliser to apply on their farms as well as avoid broadcasting method that also affects productivity.

Mahama Abdul-Rahman, Cereals Crop Segment Manager, Yara Ghana said, the company sought to improve the livelihoods and the profitability of the farmers with the introduction of YaraMila Actyva fertiliser.

The project, he said, also sought to introduce the farmers to improved ways of farming to ensure the sustainability of agribusiness which is their only source of livelihoods, he added.

According to the Cereals Crop Segment Manager, farmers are essential to Yara because Yara is focused on providing the right crop nutrition solution for them in order to sustain their business and create a win win situation

Francis Essuman, Northern Regional Coordinator of USAID/ADVANCE said, the project was helping to identify nucleus farmers and give them the training as well as offer technical and mechanised services to outgrowers through them.

He said the project links the farmers to agro input dealers  as well as other value chain actors to acquire knowledge, counseling and as well as other services.

By Times Reporter

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