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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR PLANT-PARASITIC NEMATODES: COVER CROPS, AMENDMENTS, AND INTERNAL MOLECULAR TARGETS

Location: Nematology Laboratory

Title: Illustrated manual on composting for improved soil fertility and enhanced cocoa production

Authors
item Ogunlade, Moses -
item Orisajo, Samuel -
item Njukeng, Jetro -
item Koko, Louis -
item Millner, Patricia
item Chitwood, David
item Meyer, Susan

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: September 26, 2013
Publication Date: October 30, 2013
Citation: Ogunlade, M.O., Orisajo, S.B., Njukeng, J.N., Koko, L., Millner, P.D., Chitwood, D.J., Meyer, S.L.F. 2013. Illustrated manual on composting for improved soil fertility and enhanced cocoa production. Proceedings of World Cocoa Foundation Cocoa livelihoods Program (WCF CLP), Washington, DC. p.24.

Technical Abstract: In West and Central Africa, most cocoa farms are old and the soils are highly depleted in major nutrients. Cocoa pod harvest continues to remove nutrients, and this loss of soil fertility is one of the major causes of low cocoa yields and subsequent economic losses. Plant pathogens, including nematodes, also contribute to reduced cocoa production. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are expensive for small-scale farmers. However, potential sources of affordable, organic fertilizer are generated on cocoa farms. These sources include cocoa pod husks, dried cocoa leaves, green leaves of native plants (for increased nitrogen content), poultry litter and wood ash. This brochure uses photographs and simple descriptions to train cocoa farmers in procedures for production and application of compost that can enhance soil fertility and cocoa yields, suppress pathogens in the soil, and sustain cocoa production. Cocoa pod husks should be dried and shredded prior to composting. The compost can be set up in a box or as a pile, as long as it is protected from rain; for example, with a cover of banana leaves or plastic. The compost should be turned as the center temperature cools, and air-dried after two to four months. Compost is applied in a ring around cocoa tree trunks and covered with soil. At the option of the farmer, a much smaller amount of mineral fertilizer than would typically be used can be added to supplement the compost.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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