Dr Edward Yeboah, Acting Director, Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has called on farmers to adopt efficient organic fertilizer usage.
He said it ensured multiple benefits for crop production with evidence from many land users whose management practices had contributed to improvement in soil fertility, productivity and incomes.
“Application of organic manure offers various advantages like increasing soil’s physical properties, water holding capacity, organic carbon content apart from supplying good quality of nutrients,” he said.
Delivering a Keynote Address at the organic fertilizer guidelines handing over and awareness creation event for stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, the Acting Director, urged farmers to embrace organic fertilizers to augment the inorganic ones.
Dr Yeboah said: “Improving soil fertility for crop production has been limited to the use of mineral fertilizers which when not managed well cause a decline in soil organic matter, soil acidification and physical degradation of the soil.”
He also said most smallholder farmers were unable to afford the mineral fertilizers due to their high cost.
Meanwhile, research has also indicated that the relatively lower content, high application rates, high labour requirements and limited availability associated with organic fertilizers do not make it adequately capable of meeting crop nutrient requirements for large scale production even though they are often proposed as alternatives to mineral fertilizers.
The Acting Director, said, Ghana, in view of that, the need to encourage farmers to adopt hybrid soil management practice to improve farm productivity.
And such a hybrid system is the Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), which combines mineral, organic input and germplasm to create a composite fertilizer for the soil.
Mr Eric Bentsil Quaye, Director, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), said it had become imperative to have guidelines for organic fertilizer with the renewed interest in production.
He said: “The guidelines cover procedures for setting up organic fertilizer production facilities, registration procedures, sampling, physical and chemical test methods and management of waste at the facilities.”
Mr Quaye said the growth in the sector was expected to bring solutions to the current fertilizer demand and crop productivity.