Phosphates galore: handle with care
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CTA. 2000. Phosphates galore: handle with care. Spore 86. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46732
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For the last three years in Senegal, a total of 70,000 tons of phosphate fertilisers have been made available to farmers each year. This has been part of a programme of adding phosphates to increase the fertility of 300,000 hectares of land. The...
For the last three years in Senegal, a total of 70,000 tons of phosphate fertilisers have been made available to farmers each year. This has been part of a programme of adding phosphates to increase the fertility of 300,000 hectares of land. The programme was launched by the Senegalese farmers movement CNCR and the Association of rural councils (APCR) in 1997. Under the programme, each farmer has had a right to eight 50kg sacks of fertiliser each year. But there s just one small problem. No instructions for use are given with the fertiliser, which comprises 50% tricalcium phosphate and 50% phosphogypsum, a sub-product of the industrial process of phosporic acid manufacture. In fact, the fertiliser should be dug into the soil, and not scattered on it. If it is not applied properly, it can damage crops and increase soil salinity. Some argue that it does not redress soil fertility, and claim that it also contains heavy metals (cadmium, mercury and lead) just as all natural phosphates do. It is even claimed to have poisoned some users. The producer, the Industries chimiques du Sénégal (ICS) company, have confirmed that the amount of heavy metals is less than the level permitted by international standards. For the rest, it has to be noted that some farmers in the groundnut zone use it gratefully each year. So people are urged to remember that caution is the mother of safety, to use the fertiliser with care, and to take advice from technical staff. Syfia, November 1999 C/o CNCR BP 13453 Dakar, Senegal Fax: +221 827 52 62 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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