Yara trains cocoa farmers, extension officers

•    Mr. Otoo (standing), addressing the farmers.

• Mr. Otoo (standing), addressing the farmers.

Leading fertiliser suppliers, Yara Ghana Ltd., has completed the training of extension officers and cocoa farmers on some useful farming techniques to ensure the maximum potential of cocoa crop are fully utilised.

In all, 160 extension officers and 1,120 cocoa farmers benefited from the training which forms part of Yara’s Healthier Cocoa Campaign that took place in 16 districts of the Western Region.

Commenting on the relevance of the campaign, Henry Otoo, Yara Ghana’s Head of Marketing and Business Development said, “The campaign was instituted to ensure that the majority of the farmers in the sector benefit from this unique fertilisation programme intended to promote high productivity in the cultivation of cocoa.”

“ It is an instituted annual programme that will continue to run in all the cocoa growing districts to ensure a drastic improvement in the yields that are currently being attained by farmers,” he said.

It is estimated that small-scale farmers constitute about 70 per cent of the country’s labour force and access to extension services from agricultural experts largely remain elusive because of the low number of extension agents; just about 10 per cent of the country’s farmers receive extension services.

According to Mr. Otoo, the extension agents were included to refresh their memories on the nutrition of cocoa and to ensure that farmers continue to receive this groundbreaking education that will improve their yields and subsequently their incomes.

Research has revealed that about 90 per cent of flowers produced by a cocoa tree will definitely drop before fruit set. It is therefore, imperative to ensure the production of a certain high number of flowers at any point if the crop is to bear enough fruits, Mr. Otoo said.

Mr. Otoo said despite the importance of nitric nitrogen to cocoa plants, fertilisers sold on the local market lack that essential nutrition.

“In YaraLiva Nitrabor fertiliser farmers have access to a unique source of nitrogen,” he said.

The presence of this nitric nitrogen Mr. Otoo added, increases the weight and size of the bean as well as the size of the pod.

The presence of soluble calcium and boronin YaraLiva Nitrabor is essential for cell wall resistance and therefore, provides protection against black pod and other fungal diseases which plague the cocoa industry and contribute to severe losses in the production of cocoa in Ghana.

Since the inception of Yara Ghana in 2007, many professional agronomists have been employed and trained in crop nutritional approaches to offer crucial educational support on fertiliser knowledge to all farmers across the country.

Yara’s Managing Director, Sergio Godoy added that the training, which is done on a regular basis, is to enable farmers recognise the important role high quality fertilisers and crop nutrition play knowledge to determine the yield and quality of cocoa, cereals and fruits as well as vegetable crops.

According to Mr. Godoy, Yara believes that it is through this approach that farmers can make informed decisions which will impact positively on their yields and which will lead to the country attaining significant yield increases.

“Yara is the world’s leader in crop nutrition approaches and as part of its mandate Yara includes the education of farmers as one of its core mandates to ensure that farmers are able to make informed choices on crop nutrition that will subsequently culminate in higher yields,” he said.

By Times Reporter

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