James Gmayepoan and his wife Jaaja Ntawan are the proud parents of four children. They live in Kotoya, Nanumba South District, Ghana. James and Jaaja are smallholder farmers who grow maize. Together the cultivate around three acres of land. Their small farm is around 50 meters from the 4R learning site in Kotoya.
This year the couple was very hopeful about their maize harvest, but as months passed by their maize grew slowly with short plant height, very small cobs and stale leaves. To James and Jaaja’s disappointment, they got very low yields at harvest time.
On the adjacent 4R learning site, which is supported through the ongoing 4R Solution Project, the maize displayed healthy growth in cobs, plant height and grain weight. James and Jaaja had the opportunity to observe the 4R best practices on the neighboring demo plot. They learned about the importance of various production practices and the critical impact they have on agricultural productivity.
“On the 4R learning site we did row planting, while we planted randomly on our farms. Sometimes I even broadcasted the seeds so I could finish quickly. Now we are witnessing the differences in plant growth on the 4R learning site as compared to that of our farm. Also, the plots which had a different application of fertilizer and even the plot without fertilizer on the 4R site did better than my farm”, said James.
In addition to engaging Ghanaian farmers around good nutrient management practices, the 4R project is working to empower women and men to participate equally in decision-making processes related to farming practices and household responsibilities.
“We are sure of a better yield next year because we will follow the exact practice we learnt on the 4R site and we will plant in rows, we will apply fertilizer with the right micronutrients. We are saving through the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) groups in order to purchase fertilizers and other micronutrients for our farms”, James indicated.
The 4R Solution Project supports improvements in agricultural productivity and higher incomes for 80,000 smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal, through the application of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place), a science-based fertilizer management program supported by Canada’s fertilizer industry. The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada in partnership with Fertilizer Canada.