Free access | Research Article

Bringing laboratory (soil test kits) to the door steps of small holder Cocoa farmers

Ogunlade M. O., K.A. Oluyole, E.A. Adeyemi, P.E. Aikpokpodion

Published on: 27 Sep 2017 | Volume: 4, Issue: 3 | Pages: 6-10 |

Fertilizer use on cocoa increases productivity, however soil testing is necessary to avoid negative consequences of blanket fertilizer application. Many of the smallholders cocoa farmers cannot afford conventional soil testing because of cost and logistics involved, hence the need for more affordable and quick soil test kit. The study was carried out in four cocoa producing communities in Ondo and Osun states where cocoa farmers were trained on the use of LaMotte soil test kit to analyse for soil pH, N, P and K. The farmers were also taught on collection and processing of representative soil samples which were analysed using the soil test kit by placing the farmers in groups. The results indicated that farmers in each of the groups got similar values for the soil parameters (pH, N, P and K) measured. The study revealed that the soils of the four cocoa plantations required N, P and K fertilizer application at different levels. The soil test revealed that while the soil of Olorunranmilowo location required as much as 148.58kgK/ha, Ago-Owu location soil only required 31.28kgK/ha . This reflected the importance of soil testing before fertilizer recommendation compared with blanket fertilizer application which does not consider native fertility.