Farmers have been urged to embrace use of a combination of micronutrients and macronutrients to enhance agriculture productivity.
According to a recent study by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) and the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), application of macronutrients NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous potassium) and DAP (diammonium phosphate), secondary nutrients (sulfur) and micronutrients such as boron, copper, zinc stimulate the plants productivity.
Dr. Leon Nabahungu, the in-charge of land and water management at RAB, said if a hectare which produced 15 to 16 tonnes of Irish potatoes when only micronutrients (NPK, DAP) were used, this could double to 32 tonnes when the combination of micronutrients and macronutrients is used.
“Rice output, for example, can increase from 3.5 tonnes to seven tonnes per hectare,” he said.
This was during a workshop to discuss the final draft of Fertiliser Demonstration Manual 2014 in Kigali last week. The manual is informed by recent on-farm trials on maize, wheat and potatoes’ response to secondary nutrients and micronutrients like boron, copper, and zinc, along with major nutrients.
Landouard Semukanya, the IFDC Rwanda’s technologies transfer officer, noted that farmers were used to the application of macronutrients like NPK and DAP, but ignored secondary nutrients such as sulfur and micronutrients which affects crop output.
He said the study showed that there was lack of such micronutrients, which makes it difficult for plants to respond to fertilisers.
Pascal Twizerimana, a farmer belonging to Imbaraga Association in Musanze District, said a micronutrient test that was done in his potato garden increased yields from 600kg to 1.1 tonnes.
The fertiliser demonstration manual draft is to be revised in December 2014 to validate its findings.