Some selected farmers under the auspices of the Research for Development and Innovation Agricultural Learning (ReDIAL) Project have been sensitised soil fertility and organic farming in the Techiman Municipality of Bono East Region.
The one-day engagement sensitised the farmers to consider soil nutrition management as the key to quality and healthy food production for food safety. The farmers were educated and informed about the significance of protecting natural organisms such as worms, ants, and millipedes whose presence and activities in the soil promotes soil fertility.
The project funded European Union funded project, is being implemented nationwide jointly by three natural resources sustainability promotion institutions/organisations, including the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in six areas including Techiman.
Addressing the farmers, Professor Boateng Kyereh, the Dean at the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, explained that the ReDIAL project created platform among others for farmers’ voices to be heard and to address their challenges in farming.
Consequently, Professor Boateng Kyereh added that the project focused on redirecting the attention of farmers to reduce the use of inorganic fertilizers and resort to the application of organic manure to restore the original soil fertility for crop and other agro-productions.
Prof. Kyereh stated the project also sought to bring on board researchers and stakeholders to dialogue on issues that reflected on the development of the farming community. He underscored the need to protect the soil through crop rotation, land fallowing and mixed farming, saying that was the surest way to maintain and improve the fertility level of the soil.
Prof. Kyereh identified the method of farm burning in clearing and preparation of the land for planting as one of the worst forms of making the soil infertile because of its destructive nature of the soil nutrients. He explained that the farm waste that must be left on the land during its preparation and after harvest to decay and turn into manure to boost the soil fertility is burnt through that farm practice.
Nurturing the Soil
Prof. Kyereh urged farmers to make it a matter of priority to nurture the soil by desisting from practicing unfriendly environmental activities like bush burning and excessive use of agro-chemicals on their farms.
Touching on the sustainability of the project, Prof. Emmanuel Acheampong, ReDIAL Project Coordinator at KNUST, intimated that the project is relying on multi-stakeholder support to survive, saying farmers and their partners would become owners of the project for its survival.
Prof. Acheampong noted that the project is also supporting the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) Programme to succeed for the benefit of farmers.
Nana Kwaw Adams, the Executive Director of Abrono Organic Farming Project (AbofaP) at Forikrom, a farming community in Techiman, lauded the ReDIAL project for its emphasis on the use of organic manure, which he described as, “the preferred productive buster that can support the soil to produce quality food crops for human consumption.”
Nana Adams suggested the need for the government and its partners to promote large scale production of organic manure to reduce the importation of inorganic fertilizers that did not produce 100 per cent natural food for human consumption.
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