Ghanaian farmers urged to seek expert advice to maximize investment

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Peasant Farmers
Peasant Farmers

Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah, the Upper West Regional Director, Department of Agriculture, has advised farmers to always seek expert advice to enable them reap the needed benefits from their farming investment.

He explained that considering the high cost of farm inputs such as fertilizer and agro-chemicals, and high cost of ploughing services and labour, farmers ought to follow the appropriate agronomic practices to maximise their investment.

“I also know that because of fuel price increase ploughing cost has also gone up, but at least whatever they will do, they should be able to maximize the planting distance.

“I will advise that farmers must always consult the Agricultural Extension Officers in their communities,” Mr Yeboah said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa.

The Director emphasised that it was important for the farmers to follow the required planting distance per the recommendations from good agronomic practices saying, “that is where you can get 20 to 30 bags of maize from an acre instead of the five bags that some farmers get.”

“For example, if a hector field should take 57,000 stands or 60,000 stands and you go and put 20,000 stands there, your cost will be on that one hector (2.5 acres) but only with 20,000 stands while you can maximize it with 57, 000 or 60,000 stands.

If you do spot application, timely application, the right type of fertilizer, you control your weeds well, you manage your pest build-up and all that, your yield will be fantastic,” Mr Yeboah added.

The Director also advised farmers to consider applying hybrid fertilizers (organic and inorganic fertilizers) on their farms to help reduce their cost of production while maximizing the crop yield.

Mr Yeboah explained that the organic fertilizer was less expensive compared to the inorganic fertilizer and could reduce the fertilizer component of the production cost by about 50 per cent if a combination of the two were used.
He noted that inorganic fertilizer from animals’ residues such as livestock or birds was not only cost-effective but also improved the soil structure.

“When you use organic manure, you improve the soil structure and also the acidity of the soil will also be modernised to a reasonable level where crops can uptake nutrients from the soil, so the advice to use organic manure is laudable,” he explained.

Mr Yeboah indicated that organic fertilizers had been part of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme and made available to interested farmers saying, “I think going forward it should be a practice for farmers to do than to rely heavily on inorganic fertilizers, which keeps the soil deteriorating.”

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