Demeter Ghana Limited and Beft Agro Limited, two top specialist importers of fertilizers have renewed their partnership with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to provide cocoa farmers with Omya Calciprill to tackle soil acidity (low pH).
Studies have shown that low soil pH levels lead to low cocoa cultivation yields as it inhibits the levels of nutrients such as Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous needed for cocoa production.
Omya Calciprill is a calcium carbonate soil conditioner that rapidly tackles acidity in soils, allowing cocoa trees to access more nutrients. Calciprill is a 2-6 mm prill made from very finely ground high-purity calcium carbonate.
It can be applied to crops at any time and it is ideal for rapid pH adjustment. Studies conducted by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) over the last two years have proven that Omya Calciprill can boost yields by up to 70%.
With these results, COCOBOD requested that Demeter Ghana Ltd and Beft Agro Limited conduct six training seminars in conjunction with The Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) for Farmers and Cocoa Extension Officers in the Western Region from September 27 to 29, 2022.
The training covered the following areas:
- The effects of acidic soils on cocoa plants.
- The importance of reducing the acidity of soils to boost productivity.
- The importance of applying Calciprill to reduce soil acidity.
“We are delighted to renew the partnership with COCOBOD and to have this opportunity to host training seminars on the importance of tackling soil acidity," said William Hunt, Country Manager at Demeter Ghana Ltd.
Alvin Mensah, CEO of Beft Agro Limited said the Western Region has long had an issue with soil acidity, which has severely hampered Cocoa farmers’ yields.
“It’s a privilege to host our 4th Calciprill training seminar with Cocobod in the Western Region. We are thrilled to be seeing the positive impact that Calciprill is having across the region, but it’s essential we keep highlighting the issues of soil acidity,’ Mr Mensah stressed.
The first training session took place on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at Kejebri and Ayinase concurrently. The farmers who had used the Omya Calciprill shared their testimonies of how beneficial the product has been.
“I have used Omya Calciprill for four years now and it has been very helpful. My farmland previously was not good as it contained so much water and was acidic which was affecting my cocoa. But since I started using the product my cocoa pods mature bigger and nicer.
"I am able to make a harvest every month. I encourage all farmers to use the Omya Calciprill," said Janet Thanor, who has been farming for the past 20 years.
Christian Amegbono also shared that he previously could not harvest 8-10 bags of cocoa but with Omya Calciprill he can now harvest 20 bags per acre.
Samuel Ankamah, the Regional Director of The Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), Western South, mentioned that COCOBOD has placed some interventions such as the Productivity Enhancement Programme to help farmers increase yield and financial gains hence this training.
He urged the farmers to keep applying the Omya Calciprill as it contains Calcium which is helpful in increasing cocoa yield.
He strongly cautioned farmers who are smuggling the Omya Calciprill to desist from doing so as they will face prosecution when caught.
At the moment four suspects in the Western South have been apprehended and are under investigation.
The remaining days last week saw the training sessions happening at Tarkwa, Wasa Akropong, Asankragwa and Samreboi.
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