The Agricultural Manufacturing Group (AMG Ltd), has completed a fertilizer application training and evaluation exercise for about two hundred farmers, retailers, distributors and scientists from 6 district and a municipality in the Upper East Region.
The training and evaluation exercise sought to teach participants how to use the AMG fertilizers appropriately to guarantee maximum field benefit and also to demonstrate to independent observers the efficacy of AMG fertilizers.
As part of the field demonstration, AMG fertilizers were applied to crops such as okra, soybeans, maize and garden eggs, alongside other fertilizer products on the market to the same group of crops and the results confirmed the superiority of the AMG fertilizers.
“At the end of the demonstration exercise, crops fertilized with AMG fertilizers looked fresher, healthier and produced higher yield, according to the farmers, thus proving the efficacy and superiority of the AMG fertilizers over others on the Ghanaian market.”Julius Yirzagla, the Agronomist on the team.
At the Technology park of the Manga Station of CSIR-SARI where the training took place, participants were introduced to agro- technologies including improved crop varieties of cowpea, maize, soybean and vegetables; improved agronomic practices and insect pests and diseases management strategies to cultivate the improved crop varieties in order to increase productivity. The Drip irrigation system designed to suit the dry savannah zone was also introduced to enable farmers efficiently utilize the limited water resources to maximize production throughout the long seven to eight months of the dry season.
Dr Yirzagla encouraged the farmers to adopt those improved practices to augment the government’s efforts to promote access to quality improved seeds and fertilizer under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme to further increase food production and productivity in Ghana.
Touching on the major factors limiting crop yields in Ghana, Dr Yirzagla said that due to poor and declining soil fertility, soil productivity has been low which affects crop growth and yield. He added that agriculture, through sustainable intensification, presents an opportunity to improve food security and reduce poverty and inequality, provided appropriate fertilizers were adopted.
On nutrient application, Dr Yirzagla said current fertilizer recommendations were developed decades ago and mainly focused on the replenishment of only macronutrients such as NPK mainly through soil application, with little or no focus on secondary and micronutrients.
“As a result, the concentrations of several micronutrients in grains of crops have declined considerably over the last five decades, negatively affecting nutritional quality and exacerbating malnutrition.”Julius Yirzagla
He then emphasized that apart from the quantity and the composition of fertilizers, the mode of nutrient application played a key role in nutrient uptake by plants.
The lead Senior Research Scientist of CSIR-SARI, Dr Francis Kusi, acknowledged the support from AMG Ltd that enabled him and his team to present their proven technologies to the end users, adding that his outfit had generated a good number of technologies which needed to be disseminated to the end users. However, Dr Kusi said funds to do this remain a great constraint to the institute and, therefore, appealed to other companies and donors to partner with them in the efforts to disseminate their technologies to the farmers.