Farmers in Uganda are cashing in on a new type of fertilizer that not only doubles yields but also enables plants to be tolerant to the fungal and bacterial diseases like blight in addition to prolonging the shelf life of fruits like banana and tomato to over 8 days.
The fertilizer that is now positioning itself as a must have for any farmer keen on registering better yields is organic in nature and is said to have all the nutrients required by any plant therefore comfortably earning the name ‘complete fertilizer’.
The complete fertilizer dubbed Di-Grow is manufactured from decomposing material from Acadian Sea weed. Brian Job Olema an agronomist working with Dynapharm a Malasian firm that supplies the product in the country noted that the fertilizer is an all round one containing all minerals like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium among others. “This is a complete organic fertilizer and its high abilities are one of the reasons as to why many farmers in Uganda are adopting it. In addition, its ideal for any type of crop and therefore do not limit a farmer growing various types of crops.”
Acadian Sea weed is praised by scientists for its tolerance to fungal diseases like blight and therefore Olema noted that for farmers growing crops that are mostly affected by fungal and bacterial diseases the fertilizer was a big boost to their efforts to combat such misfortunes. “Farmers growing tomatoes that are mostly affected by tomato blight, the fertilizer is a real relief for them as it enhances the plants resistance to the disease,” explained Olema.
However he cautioned that for farmers to acquire better results some pesticides should be supplemented especially after noticing signs of specific diseases. The fertilizer is applied after 3 weeks of transplanting the crops although some crops with grain seeds can be soaked in the same solution having the fertilizer. The solution is sprayed on the leaves of the plant targeting its’ stomata.
Stomata are minute aperture structures on plants found typically on the outer leaf skin layer and their main function is to allow gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor and oxygen to move rapidly into and out of the leaf. It’s recommended that one has to spray the fertilizer at periods when the stomata are wide open. Olema advised, “In order to get the right results, one should apply the fertilizer in the morning hours before 10am and in the evening from 4pm onwards.
Stomata apertures will typically vary in response to changes in light intensity, saturation deficit of ambient water vapor and soil moisture availability and therefore since that is the only way through which the plants absorb the nutrient applied on the leaves; it should be done while they are wide open to enable this process to take place.
With one litre of the Di-Grow, one is able to apply to crops covering over two acres of land. According to Olema, the fertilizer not only doubles the yields of crops but is ideal for smallholder farmers with low incomes as it is affordable compared to the inorganic fertilizers in the market. Olema explained, “1 litre of Di-Grow which is enough for over 2 acres of land costs about Sh1300.
However, for farmers using the inorganic fertilizers to apply a two acre piece of land, they will need about 2 bags of the fertilizer with each bag costing about Sh3,300 summing to over Sh6,600 for the same size of land.” He also added that the fertilizer is complete as it contains all the nutrients an therefore a farmer only applies it without buying other supplements for the crops whereas with the conventional fertilizers in the market, for a farmer in need of specific nutrient has to purchase a different type of fertilizer hence in the long run it becomes a costly venture.
Farmers using the fertilizer are advised to apply it twice during a crops lifespan especially the corn and beans. The first application is for the plant enhancer as it strengthens the plants’ roots, stems and increases uptake of nutrients from the soil.
The second application is recommended when the plants start flowering. “The second application initiates the plants to produce more flower buds and as one has plants with more flower buds the more fruits the plant will produce hence a bumper harvest,” noted Olema. The second application of the fertilizer also increases the fruit size and prolongs the shelf life of fruits especially tomatoes and bananas to over 8 days after ripening.
Focusing on smallholder farmers the fertilizer is packaged in smaller quantities starting from 500ml, 1 liter going upwards. According to Olema, DI-Grow has a potential to double the yields of any farmer who rightly uses it and is affordable to many households given its’ lower price compared to the conventional fertilizers in the market. “Any type of fertilizer grants 50 percent increment of yields if proper husbandry methods are observed but with DI-Grow, not only can it double the yields but also safeguard the crops against pests, bacterial and fungal diseases and therefore its high adoption rate in the country is because of its multiple solutions it provides to farmers,” noted Olema.
For more information on the fertilizer you can contact:
Brian Job Olema- Agronomistwith Dynapharm
on +256789880443 or +25670469606