University for Development Studies champions soil fertility management project

The University for Development Studies (UDS) is championing a soil fertility management project in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) aimed at improving soil fertility and sustainability of agricultural lands to increase production.

The project, which is being sponsored by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) at the cost of $495,000, is expected to improve small holder agricultural productivity and food security in Ghana through enhanced extension services on soil health.

The UDS and the UCC are expected to review and revise the curriculum of some colleges and farm training institutes in line with the projects objectives to train students and extension officers who would transfer the new technology to farmers.

Prof. Gabriel Teye, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of UDS, addressing a day’s workshop in Tamale on Wednesday, said the UDS was grateful to host such a project that was aimed at using practical methods of soil fertility management practices to assist farmers increase their yield.

He said due to poor soil health, most farmers became demoralized when at the end of the farming season they could not meet their investment, and this created debts for them.

Prof. Teye encouraged agriculturalist to concentrate their energies and knowledge more on the practical field-work instead of the more workshops which end up diminishing the real capital to be invested in a project, adding “Soil health is not just about its fertility but its sustainability. The workshops are too much, more field work is needed’.

Dr Francis Obeng, Project Manager of the UDS AGRA Soil Health Extension Project, said the project was to be carried out within three years, starting from September 2011 to 2014 and has the objectives of developing and strengthening soil health training colleges.

He said it would build the capacity of the extension workers on the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers and pass on the knowledge to the farmer through face-to-face and other channels such as the radio stations using local languages to educate them.

Dr Obeng said the integrated soil fertility management programme will further reach more farmers through an SMS message that will water-down appropriately the knowledge required on soil fertility.

Mr Joseph Faalong, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, said most farmers, due to ignorance and poverty, had not taken fertility management practices seriously.

He called on farmers to adhere to the proper utilization of their soils and avoid bush fires since bush burning tend to kill soil nutrients and depletes the soil of the needed health.

Source: GNA

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