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Regional News of Saturday, 20 March 2010

Source: GNA

Check misuse of fertilizer - Don

Kumasi, March 20, GNA - Professor Ebenezer Yeboah Safo of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, has called for the enforcement of quality assurance and control measures in the use of fertilizers on farms. This, he said, would help to prevent the harmful effects of fertilizers on the environment.

He was speaking at a three-day workshop of the Cocoa Producers' Alliance (COPAL) to identify best agronomic practices for sustainable cocoa production.

The workshop was attended by 78 participants from Ghana, France, Costa Rica, Togo, Cameroun, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon and Uganda. Topics discussed included Agro-Forestry as Applied to Cocoa Production; Improving Soil Fertility through Inter-Cropping; Soil Management Strategies in Cocoa Cultivation and the Utilization of Fallow Lands and Old Cocoa Plantations to Renew Ageing and Damaged Tree Stocks."

Mr Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, (COCOBOD) expressed concern about the fast decline in soil fertility and its negative effects on cocoa production. The loss of essential soil nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in cocoa producing countries is significantly affecting crop yield.

Mr Fofie said it has, therefore, become pertinent to support farmers to adopt the right farming practices to restore the lost nutrients and enhance soil fertility.

Given that cocoa makes tremendous contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of producing countries it is important to develop "functioning research-extension-farmers' linkage" to tackle emerging problems on cocoa farms," he stressed. Mr Coulibaly Nanga Paul, Head of Scientific Research Department of COPAL, urged member countries of COPAL to ensure the application of the strategies discussed for raised output and conservation of the ecology. COPAL is an inter-governmental organization which focuses on the development of the cocoa industry. 20 March 09

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