Legumes make their own fertilizer – with help from their friends

| February 4, 2022

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This edition’s Farmer story from Ghana talks about adding “inoculant” to soybean seeds or to the soil in soybean fields in order to boost nitrogen content. Our Script of the week discusses the same topic through a short, fictional interview. 

Plants, like people and animals, need food. Plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and many others are needed for the growth and development of crops and trees. But African smallholder farmers are facing a major problem as soil fertility declines from continuous cropping without replenishing soil nutrients. 

One option for farmers is to add nutrients (called plant foods in this script) to the soil by using manure, compost, or natural fertilizers. Biological sources of fertility or biofertilizers have the potential to increase yields of legumes and plants which follow them in rotation, as well as reducing the use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers. They are also much more affordable than synthetic fertilizers.

You might want to supplement this script by adding an interview or a post-program discussion with a local farmer or agricultural extension worker who is familiar with the benefits of rhizobial bacteria and biofertilizers.