Imbalanced nutrition has been a major cause of poor yields, especially for small scale maize farmers. Lack of information on crop nutrition, specifically balanced nutrition, has resulted in continuous use of fertilizers with very low returns. Consequently, farmers often complain of poor yields from their farms despite using fertilizers and hybrid seeds.
Hidden hunger is a common occurrence in crop production, where the optimal yields are not achieved despite the crops not showing visible nutrient deficiency symptoms. The cause for the hidden hunger is often lack of sufficient secondary and trace elements.
A survey of soil nutrition status has revealed that in most small-scale maize growing regions, soils are generally low on nutrients such as Sulphur and Zinc. These are important nutrients in maize production, lack of which results in declined yields.
Sulphur improves the utilisation of nitrogen by the crop as well as formation of amino acids, while zinc is vital for shoots and root growth, resulting in a strong early crop development. Zinc also improves the growth of the plants to avoid stunted crops, and contributes to proper grain filling and grain weight.
Nutrition wise, zinc plays a key part in boosting the body immune system against disease such as chronic degenerative brain conditions. Zinc improves memory sharpness and helps in learning ability besides it is important for human reproduction.
Yara East Africa, the makers of Chapa Meli, have formulated a new fertilizer for planting and topdressing maize. It is specifically designed for small-scale farmers.
The fertilizers are trading as Yara MiCrop Planting and Yara MiCrop Top-dress. They come at affordable prices.
This new maize solution supplies five key nutrients (N, P, K, S & Zn) for high productivity in maize.
It provides a more balanced supply of nutrients compared to the current fertilizer programmes that supply only two nutrients.
Yara East Africa employs unique patented technology to coat all the fertilizer granules with zinc.
This ensures uniformity, unlike physical blending practices. Demonstration trials carried out in farmer fields in several counties where maize is a major crop show improvement of yields, with most farmers achieving average outputs of 30 bags per acre.
In some cases, yields were doubled. The result therefore is significant increase in household income.