GCRF Cocoa soil amendments project
Soil degradation through continuous cropping of cocoa pods is an issue that impacts on the sustainability of cocoa production. This collaborative project with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is examining ways of improving soil health through the addition of soil amendments. Composts and biochar derived from waste cocoa pod husks are being produced and trialled and their impacts on soil nutrient and water retention properties are being studied. The effects of these soil amendments on both juvenile and mature cocoa plants are also being examined. These include experiments that consider whether use of compost/ biochar impacts on the tolerance of cocoa to biotic and abiotic stresses.
There is a particular emphasis in the project on farmer engagement. As such, a number of trials are being established on farm, where the farmers are also being taught how to produce compost and biochar. These farms will also act as model farms to for training and workshop events within local communities.