Use of fertilizer can double cocoa production
Fertilizer use on degraded cocoa farms with mature trees creates very positive impact on the productivity of cocoa. A pilot study on the impact of fertilizer by Francois Ruf from CIRAD has come to this conclusion and was discussed during the World Cocoa Foundation Partnership meeting June 14, 2012. The study was conducted in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that suffer from tree mortality and decline in yields. The outcomes of the study support the IDH strategy to link fertilizer supply with financial institutions, farmer cooperatives and governments, to build an effective and sustainable cocoa input supply mechanism that will double production and increase cocoa farmers incomes.
How and to what extent does fertilizer affect cocoa farms? How much does it cost, and which returns on investment can be expected? How can fertilizer use help overcome the cocoa price variability risk? Assuming correct use of fertilizer in West Africa, how much would be needed?
This study shows that already after one year of application the foliage on degraded farms is widely rebuilt. “You can no longer see the sky” farmers say. We see a clear impact on production, despite significant variability in productivity explained by rainfall and the degree of maintenance. A rough calculation also shows that the estimated potential market for fertilizer is over 1 million tons. This represents a yearly revenue of at least US$500 million to the fertilizer in¬dustry and credit institutions.
The study was funded by IDH together with Mars and Yara.
Read here the full study.