-As ‘Cocoa Nti Fertilizer’ is launched
As the country explore avenues to boost its national cocoa output cocoa farmers have been tasked to adopt the use of more effective and scientifically approved agronomic practices that can help increase their yields.
The call comes with the introduction of a new cocoa fertilizer, ‘Cocoa Nti Fertilizer,’ which is uniquely designed to significantly increase the productivity of cocoa.
The fertilizer, produced by the Agricultural Manufacturing Group (AMG) is radically different from existing cocoa fertilizers currently used by cocoa farmers in the country. Compared to the other fertilizers on the market, this new fertilizer has been produced to increase their yields and consequently revenues generated from the cocoa farming.
The General Manager of the AMG, Mr. Henry Otoo-Mensah, speaking at the backdrop of the launch of the fertilizer, at New Edubiase, said the unique nutrient composition of the fertilizer induces the cocoa tree itself to fully realise its potential yield regardless of all external conditions that affect cocoa.
He explained that the fertilizer helps to produce high-quality pods, heavier and bigger beans with the introduction of a high percentage of nitrate nitrogen in the ‘Cocoa Nti Fertilizer.’ Additionally, he said the fertilizer has been produced in a way that it is able to retain 100 percent of its nutrients even after heavy rains.
He said the fertilizer is composed of nitrate-nitrogen, calcium, potassium, and boron, which are all good to increase yield and revenue generated.
“One of the main responsibility as an agriculture manufacturer is to support and partner the COCOBOD technically and logistically to enable them to play the crucial role it is playing to shape the growth of the country’s cocoa sector,” he stated.
Adding that it should be a shared responsibility instead of leaving everything to the government alone to do. “AMG will not rest but continue to engage our cherished farmers, share knowledge and build capacity to make informed choices which will enable farmers to adopt best agronomical practices to boost high yields.”
AMG as a part of the corporate responsibilities, he said will always provide the needed assistance to farmers in order to sustain their cocoa farms.
Mr. Otoo-Mensah said the ‘Cocoa Nti Fertilizer’ has been approved and tested by COCOBOD and Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), which are in charge of cocoa monitoring in the country.
He said upon a series of trials by CRIG, a cocoa bean which has been applied with the Cocoa Nti fertilizer weighs 2 to 2.5 grams instead of the normal 0.5 to 1 gram. With this improvement, he noted that a farmer will be able to at least easily achieve a double of his yield using ‘Cocoa Nti Fertilizer.’
At the moment, according to the AMG boss, efforts are ongoing to make the fertilizer available at subsidized cost to farmers.
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mr. George Oduro, said given how cocoa is important to the Ghanaian economy every effort must be made to support cocoa productivity in the country.
Whilst acknowledging that some of the unique components of the ‘Cocoa Nti fertilizer’ cannot be found in the other conventional fertilizers on the market he recommended it to the farmers for use and also asked them to support efforts by the government to increase the production of the crop.
For instance, the hand pollination exercise, introduced last year towards boosting cocoa yields of cocoa farmers, across the country, is expected see an increase from the 10,000 youths engaged to assist in the programme to 20,000, this year.
So far, through this initiative, it said farmers are recording an average yield of 20 bags of cocoa from a hectare of a cocoa farm, as at December 2017.