Assessment of nutrients status of areas supporting optimum oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq. L) cultivation in Ghana
In Ghana, information on the fertility status to support oil palm growth and productivity and possible fertilizer recommendation is not common. The objective of this study was to assess the nutrition-related limitations to production of oil palm across areas climatically delineated as optimum for sustainable oil palm production. Based on Ghana Interim Soil Classification System, benchmark soils identified in these areas were: Temang (Lixisols), Akroso (Acrisol), Kokofu (Alisols), Basitia (Acrislos), Firam (Acrisols) and Nkwanta (Acrisols). Results indicated generally strongly acidic soil and exchangeable acidity values obtained were high and consistent with very acidic soil conditions. There were generally- high C: N ratios (>20) except some few sites, thus supplementary nitrogen is required to reduce C: N ratio and improve N availability. The Total Exchangeable Bases (TEB), Effective Cation Exchange Capacity (ECEC) and available P values were less than the optimum values for sustainable oil palm production. Both soil and foliar analysis indicated that soils in areas assessed have low soil fertility with relatively good soil physical conditions. It is recommended that instead of superphosphate fertilizer application, rock phosphate should be administered due to high acidity. Raising the low ECEC levels of the soil calls for composted empty fruit bunches incorporation.