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05.07.2005 Regional News

Poultry manure, a boost for maize production - ADRA

GNA

Ashweniagmor (G/A), July 5, GNA - Adaptive research carried out by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has shown that the use of poultry manure plus ammonia for maize production has far reaching results than the reliance on conventional fertilizers.

It showed that with the use of poultry manure, which is far cheaper to get compared to Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium (NPK) fertilizer, a farmer would not only have an improved quality protein maize, but also increased in yields within a shorter gestation period.

Briefing Journalists on the experimental process on Tuesday at a farm at Ashweniagmor in the Ga West District, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, Field Project Officer, ADRA, said poultry manure was balanced and had the advantage of helping the maize plants to withstand storms and erratic rains.

He said compared to the maize plants that received the conventional application such as the NPK plus ammonia, the poultry manure gave the maize plants uniform heights and colour.

Mr Agyemang said maize production in the coastal belt was becoming increasingly unprofitable, and with the identification of the two most important cost components, fertilizer and weed, th e use of the poultry manure had proved to be the better alternative. He urged Agriculture Extension Officers and experts to constantly explore other alternatives to meet the challenges of the times in order to help farmers improve upon their yields.

"Faced with the challenge of poor soil fertility and excessive weed growth, farmers have resorted to chemical means but that has many adverse effects on their health and the environment," he said. He said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had indicated that every inch of soil fertility lost resulted in a five per cent drop in yield.

Underscoring the importance of maize, Mr Seth Abu-Bonsrah, Programmes Director of ADRA, said the crop by far was the most important locally produced cereal and its success each year was critical for determining the availability or shortage of food in the year. He said the quality of maize seed being cultivated in rural areas represented a very weak link to the nation's drive towards the attainment of food security.

"Empowering the farmer to be able to identify quality protein maize seed and be able to plant it in an environmentally sustainable manner is a formidable intervention for achieving food security objectives in the country," Mr Abu-Bonsrah said.

He called on the Government to consider the provision of credit and training of local people for the production and sale of certified maize seeds in the districts and communities. 05 July 05

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