Cocoa farmers in the Western Region have expressed delight after experiencing great increase in cocoa production for two consecutive years, following the application of Omya Calciprill to tackle soil acidity on their cocoa farms.
Some of the farmers shared their testimonies during a day’s seminar on Monday.
At the seminar organised by the Seed Production Division (SPD) of COCOBOD at Kejebril and Wassa Akropong, both in the Western Region, experts explained the effects of acidic soils on cocoa plants, and the importance of Calciprill in tackling soil acidity.
The farmers gave their testimonies about the changes they have seen since applying Calciprill, and the additional bags they have harvested since then.
Speaking to the media at the seminar, the District Chief Farmer of Kejebril, Anthony Amissah, explained that he was advised by the Extension Officer in the district after experiencing bad yield; consequently, upon applying the Omya Calciprill on his farm, his yields have increased for two consecutive years.
Mr Amissah expressed the hope of receiving more bags of Omya Calciprill this year to enable him to continue to increase his yields.
The Zonal Chief Farmer at Sankor in the same district, Stephen Quayson, added that Omya Calciprill is not limited to cocoa alone; because he does mixed cropping, and after using the product, he has harvested more food items.
Samuel Osei, Western CHED Regional Operations Officer, explained that the acidity level of the soil in the region was unpleasant, hence applying Omya Calciprill to the soil will help farmers in the region experience better yields for their crops.
He indicated that applying Omya Calciprill will improve and enrich the soil for increased yields.
The CHED Regional Operations Officer stated that Cocobod is training 20 extension officers and about 300 cocoa farmers, who will further become trainers in the region.
“It is the desire of COCOBOD to boost production to up to 1,500 per hectare and reduce the fluctuating yield in the region”.
COCOBOD is also partnering with the supplier, Demeter, to ensure that the product is easily accessible to the farmers to buy on their own and expand the coverage of the product in the region.
The Western Region is the hub of cocoa, hence there is the need to curtail the acidity in the soil and enrich it to boost cocoa production in the region and the country at large.
The facilitator for the training, Daniel Attivor, an agronomist for Omya West Africa, explained that the training was to help the farmers understand the soil composition and the effects acidity has on their efforts; adding that it was important for the farmers to know the nature of the soil, with the help of Extension Officers, before applying the fertilizer and in order to attain the required production levels.
He indicated that so long as the soil remained acidic, the PH would be low and the soil has to be neutralised so that the fertilizers they apply will work.
This is the third training seminar for the farmers in the region, after the renewal of the partnership between the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Beft Agro Consult Limited, distributor of fertilisers in Ghana.
Beft Afro Ltd will be aided by Demeter Ghana Ltd, a specialist agricultural company, to help educate farmers on soil acidity and the importance of Calciprill,
Studies have shown that soil acidity is one of the major challenges of cocoa cultivation, and further limits the levels of key nutrients such as Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus; which has led to low cocoa yields and affected the livelihood of farmers.
Studies conducted by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) over a two-year testing period have proven that Omya Calciprill can boost yields by up to 70 per cent.
Omya Calciprill is a high-quality soil conditioner from Germany that is used to rid soils of acidity and increase yields, as well as improve crop quality.
Beft Agro Limited is an importer and distributor of fertilizers. Beft Agro Limited has worked closely with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and COCOBOD for many years.