Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - IFPRI Discussion Paper
Title Examining the Sense and Science Behind Ghana's Current Blanket Fertilizer Recommendation
Author(s)
Issue 01360
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01360.pdf
Abstract
Despite advancements in geographic information systems mapping, remote sensing, and soil testing
technology that can help in approximating soil fertility requirements at specific sites, Ghana, like most
countries in Africa, continues to use blanket fertilizer recommendations based on soil tests and
experiments that are over a decade old. This could be one of the main reasons why the country
continues to record dismal crop productivity growth even after the reintroduction of the fertilizer
subsidy program in 2008. If farmers are applying the wrong type and amount of fertilizer on their
fields, it is likely that crop productivity growth will continue to stagnate. However, the Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research, with support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa,
the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International, and the International Fertilizer Development
Corporation, has engaged in a concerted effort to promote location-specific fertilizer
recommendations. This paper was written to help bolster the case and present visual evidence
demonstrating why it is important to seriously consider spatial soil fertility variability in Ghana and to
promote area-specific fertilizer recommendations. Using geostatistical analysis of soil samples
collected from farmer plots in three districts (Tamale Municipality, Savelugu-Nanton, and West
Mamprusi in northern Ghana), the paper analyzes spatial variations in soil fertility. The results clearly
show that there are variations in soil pH, organic matter content, and available phosphorous even at
the community level, supporting the need for Ghana to seriously consider location-specific fertilizer
recommendations.

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