Modifications of the field experiments in Ouagadougou and Tamale, July 2016

While in Ouagadougou farmers use manures and other organic amendments in addition to mineral fertilizers, the farmers in Tamale used only mineral fertilizers to replenish plant nutrients. This led to a depletion of soil organic matte (SOM) in Tamale.

Therefore we changed the normal agricultural practice (NAP) in Tamale and added 20 tons of compost per hectare. The compost is produced by DECO from urban organic waste and poultry manure. Some plots received a second biochar addition and we are using the carbonized filter media which was used for waste water filtration (see SP5). In Ouagadougou we added biochar (2nd addition to selected plots) and ECOSAN. ECOSAN is a locally produced fertilizer made from fecal sludge. We also established a treatment with only mineral fertilization to study the loss of SOM as observed in Tamale. Approximately 700 kg of biochar was produced for both experiments (see videos).

Second biochar application in Ouagadougou
Biochar production in Ouagadougou

UFP, AVRDC and SHUMAS – Field experiments in Bamenda, Cameroon, March 2016

Field visit of Dr. Jean-Clause Bidogeza, Agricultural Economist & Country Liaison Officer AVRCD – The World Vegetable Center

The world vegetable center (AVRDC) together with SHUMAS and UFP established a field experiment in Bamenda in March 2016. The site is situated 15km north east of Bamenda and 3Km west of Bambili village ( N0 600 00.95’, E0 1016.015’). Characterization of the sites was done.  3 soil samples were taken from each plot after it has been delineated. The aim of the experiment is to test soil manure and/or biochar as soil amendments as well as improved crop varieties. First crop parameters such as yields, plant height, steam diameter, leaf area, and number of branches were assessed.

Improved Amaranth 5 weeks after transplant


Improved night shade 4 weeks after transplant


Aerial phographs of the field experiments

Experimental field in Tamale
Experimental field in Ouagadougou

Completed cropping cycles

Since June 2014, 5 cropping cycles were completed in Tamale. Lettuce was grown for one month; cabbage was cultivated for a period of three months and harvested in October 2014. Amaranth followed the cabbage and was cultivated in the last week of October and harvested after one month. This same cropping sequence has been followed in Ouagadougou. Yields, C and nutrient balances are assessed. Leaching of nutrients is measured with lysimeters and resin cups. Gaseous emissions are measured with an infrared monitor (INNOVA).

Amaranth growing in Tamale
Lettuce growing in Ouagadougou
Measurement of gaseous emissions of carbon and nitrogen

April 2014: Establishment of treatments

Biochar application

The field infrastructure was successfully set up. The supply of sufficient waste and clean water at both sites was particularly challenging. Biochar was mixed into soils (top 20cm, 20 Mg ha-1), in addition to a control (without fertilization) and the normal agricultural practice (NAP). Biochar was produced from crop residues (corn cobs and rice husks). The four treatments are irrigated with either waste- or clean water and two water quantity levels in a multifactorial split plot design.

February 2014: Resin and lysimeter installation

Installation of ion exchange resins

Installation of Lysimeters and resin cartridges commenced in the experimental fields. Ion exchange resins should capture leached nutrients by adsorption. The lysimeters collect leached water and allow determination of nutrients in water samples.

January 2014: First crop to test homogeneity

The field in Tamale was prepared in January 2014, and maize was cultivated as the first test crop in the second week of January. The crop was planted without adding soil amendments and fertilization to test homogeneity of the plots. In Ouagadougou, this test crop was planted on the 14th of February 2014 and harvesting was done on the 14th Of March 2014.

November 2013: Establishment of the Experimental Fields

The UFP experimental fields were established in Ouagadougou and Tamale, after careful examination of soil properties, water availability (waste water and clean water) and other issues. Each experiment comprises 64 plots with a size of 8m2 (2x4m). Four farmers in each of the cities conduct the various farming activities in the field.  These activities include, tilling of plots, planting of crops, daily irrigation, and fertilization, weeding and harvesting amongst others.

The experimental field in Tamale, Ghana
Farmers maintaining the field