Published: 2008-07-20


Farmers in Niger used bottle caps to distribute tiny amounts of fertilizer in each planting hole. Coca cola bottle caps hold 6 grams (0.2 oz) of fertilizer, and one capful was used for two to three plants. Total fertilizer use was one-third or less per hectare than is used in Europe. Despite drought conditions, farmers who used this technique harvested 50 to 100% more than those who did not. Another organization in Niger arranged for 67 farmers to each plant half a hectare in the traditional manner (with one person digging the hole and a second dropping seeds and covering them) and the other half-hectare using microplacement of fertilizer (one person digging, one dropping a bottle cap of fertilizer and one planting the seeds and covering them). The yields of the fertilized plots were twice those of the unfertilized plots. The NPK fertilizer in the planting hole gives plants a quicker start earlier in the season, giving a root system that can better pull water and nutrients from the soil. For more information, see EDN 84-3 and a description on the web (www.icrisat.org/satrends/aug2002.htm#4) of research by ICRISAT on fertilizer placement.


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