Bontanga (N/R) Feb. 23, GNA – Three women’s groups from the Saakoba Gbugli, Kukuo and Yipelgu communities of the Bontanga Irrigation Scheme in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region have received hands-on training in new rice farming technologies.
The technologies, which include rolls transplanting, weeds control and application of briquetted urea fertilizer on the rice farms, would be an alternative livelihood skill to empower them to also educate others on the need to adapt to the new technology to improve yields.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its flagship project called the Agriculture Technology Transfer, has partnered the Bontanaga Irrigation Scheme and Ganorma Agro Chemical Limited to promote the new agricultural technologies in Northern Region.
Dr. Bidjokazo Fofana, the Urea Deep-Placement (UDP) Regional Coordinator, North West Africa Division of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), speaking at the close of the training, on Monday, said the country lagged behind in adopting modern technologies.
‘This has been successfully implemented in 15 West African countries where farmers are recording increase in yields,’ he said. ‘Burkina Faso is ahead of Ghana because farmers there have changed their method of farming and I believe this country can also reap the benefit of technology if they adopt’.
Dr. Fofana explained that both studies and practical work had proven that the technology reduced the cost of fertilizer, was environmentally friendly and controlled weeds.
‘Practically, a farmer loses two out of three 50 kilogram bags of fertilizer if broadcasted but when the fertilizer is briquetted and inserted into the soil the rice plants get the needed quantity to grow, as well as to fruit,” he stated.
Mr Stephen Adegle, Project Manager of the Bontanga Irrigation Project, said the projects would help address some of the key constraints of small holder farmers so as to improve agricultural productivity and growth.
He said about 600 farms at the Irrigation site were cultivating a 10b y10 size of UDP as demonstration on their dry season rice farms to compare the yields.
Mr Adegle explained that despite the advent of Climate Change and its effects, including low rains, they could increase yields if they applied the fertilizer well.
Alhaji Mahama Amidu, the Chief of Dalun, encouraged the farmers to introduce to other farmers the benefits of using the UDP technology and line transplanting for rice production.
He observed that one of the challenges of the farmers within the area was the application of the fertilizer and that the training would help to make the work easier.
Mr Musah Salifu Taylor, Organisational Development Advisor of USAID-ATT, said the project would continue to find novelty farming technologies to help improve the productivity and quality rice production, as well as maize and soya, which were integral part of the country’s wider growth strategy.
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