Farmers introduced to new varieties of maize
Some farmers from the Kassena-Nankana East Municipality and the Bongo District in the Upper East Region have been introduced to new varieties of maize, sorghum and cowpea.
At a farmers’ field day at Bonia in the Kassena-Nankana East Municipality and Samboligo in the Bongo District, the farmers, numbering about 40, were introduced to the hybrid maize variety, which has high protein content; high yielding sorghum varieties; and cowpeas.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), in collaboration with the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) organised the field day.
The IITA Representative, Mr Clement Achuliba, said the project was being sponsored by the IITA Africa Rising Programme based in Ibadan, Nigeria, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
He said prior to the start of the project, a community analysis programme was carried out during which researchers interacted with the farmers and identified some of the challenges facing farming in the selected communities.
The challenges, he said, ranged from pest, disease, erratic rainfall which all contributed to low yields, adding that lack of access to improved seeds was also identified as a disincentive to farming.
Mr Achiliba was optimistic that over the four-year project span, the intervention to promote drought tolerant crops would be achieved and result in farmers benefiting from their toil.
The Bongo District Director of MOFA, Alhaji Musbau Ahmed, who represented the Regional Director of Agriculture, noted that because the rain pattern had become unpredictable in the region, there was the need for fast maturing crops that could withstand drought.
He said the hybrid maize seed, such as the one being introduced to the farmers, was well timed, since maize was fast catching up in the Upper East Region as a staple.
He, however, bemoaned the high cost of the seeds and suggested that farmers could come together, pool resources and purchase the seeds, since they stood to benefit in the long run.
The Deputy Co-ordinating Director for the Kassena-Nankana East Municipal Assembly, Mr Michael Awuni, said agriculture played a crucial role in the economy of the country in general, and that people of the area in particular should welcome the intervention which, he said, would help reduce poverty and hunger and ultimately improve the standards of living of farmers
By Benjamin Xornam Glover/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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