Correctly applied fertilizer is an essential ingredient for increasing farm productivity and cocoa yields
Why is fertilizer important?
As a key input, fertilizer is essential for increasing farm productivity and cocoa yield, especially on land that is depleted of nutrients and where there is limited space for farm expansion. Restoring degraded land is also an important contributor to avoiding deforestation, as it encourages better land use and discourages farmers from expanding into forested areas.
But using fertilizer only delivers a significant return on investment when farmers are fertilizer ready – with young productive trees grown using good agricultural practices and crop protection. Fertilizer must also only be used when soils have been properly prepared. Used too much, it can disturb the nutritional balance of the soil and create a vicious circle in which farmers use more, to less effect. It can also endanger human health and exacerbate climate change, because its use produces greenhouse gases.
Our Cacao Allyie fertilizer initiative in Côte d’Ivoire is helping to make sure farmers get the most out of their fertilizer. Farmers learn how to assess their farm’s suitability for fertilizer and how to apply it correctly when the time is right. Cacao Allyie starts with farmer cooperatives that buy fertilizer on credit at affordable rates every month and then sell to farmers, either for immediate payment or on 30-day credit terms. Alternatively, to reduce the financial risk to cooperatives, farmers can pay for their fertilizer through a savings scheme. This year, 54 cooperatives bought a total of around 2,300 MT of fertilizer, resulting in 8,500 ha of land that is now being farmed using fertilizer through Allyie (up from 786 in 2015).
In Ghana, we are training farmers to use fertilizers in the right way. This is reducing overuse that can impact soils and biodiversity and helping increase farmers’ yields.
Progress and highlights
49% increase in yields achieved by farmers in Côte d'Ivoire applying fertilizer and crop protection correctly. This translates into a 22% increase in cocoa farmers’ net household income.
8,500 ha of land is now being farmed using fertilizer through Allyie.
39,060 farmers trained to use fertilizer correctly in Côte d’Ivoire, an increase of 9,060 since 2015/2016.