Cocoa pod husk compost optimisation for Ghanaian smallholder farmers
About the project
UK-registered Partner: University of Reading – Tom Sizmur
Africa-registered Partner: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) – Laura Atuah
Composting cocoa pod husks and returning them to the soil on cocoa plantations has the potential to close nutrient cycles, increase cocoa plantation productivity and reduce the need for expensive and synthetic fertilisers.
While our previous research demonstrated the efficacy of cocoa pod husk composts made with poultry manure, this project identified the optimum ratios of cocoa pod husks and multiple nitrogen sources available to cocoa farmers (poultry manure, and the prunings of leguminous (Gliricidia sepium) and non-leguminous (Moringa oleifera) shade trees. We also demonstrated that the composting process suppresses the viability of Phytophthora spores (the causal agent of black pod disease).
Protocols and resources for farmer training were produced and workshops demonstrated the compost making process to a variety of stakeholders, including farmers, cocoa extension agents, licensed cocoa buyers, and entrepreneurs.
Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.