Location: Nematology LaboratoryTitle: Illustrated manual on composting for improved soil fertility and enhanced cocoa production) Author
Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2013
Publication Date: 10/30/2013
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. Interpretive Summary:
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.