Soil fertility on farms in Nadogo District in Macuata is set to vastly improve through the cultivation of mucuna beans. This follows the launching of mucuna beans in Lagalaga, Nadogo today by Minister for Agriculture Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy.
Minister Reddy stressed the importance of improving soil fertility for improved yields due to the frequent use of fertilizers on farm land.
“Improving soil fertility for improved and efficient production of various commodities is a priority for the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure the continued progress of the sector.
Hon. Reddy said the Agriculture Ministry continued to invest resources towards strengthening programs centered on improving the soil status and fertility in farming areas such as Nadogo.
“Inconsiderate cultivation practices have resulted in the continuous depletion of soil nutrients. Minister Reddy emphasized that due to repetitive farming, soil fertility would be adversely affected leading to poor soil structure and inconsistent production.
“You cannot continue to apply fertilizer to your farms, that won’t help because the soil PH will be affected. When the soil PH goes up, and it becomes acidic then nutrient uptake will be affected and it will be a waste to apply fertilizer, so what we want you to do is, say you have 10 acres of land every year leave a quarter acres aside and plant Mucuna beans.
Once planted, the mucuna fallow crop, which is a creeper plant will grow for approximately 6 months before decaying and replenishing the soil nutrient content, adding nitrogen to the soil and improving soil conditions, soil porosity and soil structure, all very important factors to ensure improved production.
“So we’re advising farmers to consider leaving aside a portion of land once a year because it would be uneconomical to leave your entire land fallow for 6 months because you will need to plant,” said Minister Reddy.
“By planting mucuna beans, you allow for the soil to recuperate and ensure your land and soil is at its optimal best condition for the next crop because at the moment you’re intensively using the same fields, same farm without fixing the soil structure after a harvest.
Hon. Reddy suggested that farmers, after every 5 years plant Mucuna beans and leave it for 6 months to improve soil structure, soil conditions and topography.
“This will reduce your cost of using fertilizer and increase your farm productivity because due to the good soil conditions, you’ll have more yields and it’ll also reduce any environmental impact due to extensive utilization of fertilizers on the same field,” he said.
Nadogo Farmers Cooperative president Arun Deo thanked the Ministry for the launching and distribution of the mucuna beans as it would greatly benefit farmers in the area.
“We’re thankful for today’s launching because we’re poor farmers, we are in need of any type of assistance and we’re anticipating improved yields after we will implement and plant the mucuna beans for soil fertility,” said Mr. Deo.