Northern and Upper West farmers schooled on appropriate agronomic practices

By
Philip Tengzu, GNA

Wa, Oct 17, GNA – Farmers in Upper West and
Northern regions have been schooled on appropriate agronomic practices to
reduce crop production cost and improve agricultural output towards food
security. 

They were taken through crop rotation, use of
animal droppings and appropriate fertilizer application aimed at boosting soil
nutrients for good yield.

An Agronomist at the Council for Scientific
and Industrial Research-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), Dr
George Y. Mahama, took the farmers through series of practical activities
during a visit to some demonstration fields in Wa.

He noted that rotating crops like legumes and
cereals was an effective way of increasing nutritional value of the soil, and
helped to reduce the cost of buying and applying fertilizers and the purchase
of fertilizer inputs could lead to excessive cost of production and affect the
economic status of many rural farmers.

The field visit was organised by CSIR-SARI
with financial support from the GIZ flagship Market Oriented Agricultural
Programme – North-West (MOAP-NW) and co-funded by the European Union, German
Cooperation and Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The MOAP aims at improving livelihoods of
farmers in its operational zone – increasing agricultural production,
production quality, boosting job creation and economic growth among the people.

The demonstration farms were to test the
potential of poultry droppings in improving sorghum production and assess the
effectiveness of crop rotation between sorghum and legume – groundnut and
Soybeans.

It was also to test different varieties of
groundnut drawn from different countries including; Nigeria, Burkina Faso and
the USA which could withstand diseases such as groundnut rosertte and Leaf spot.

It could also enhance high yielding quality of
the crops and fit for growing in the savanna ecological zone.

Dr Mahama explained that failure of some
farmers to follow proper agronomic practices was the leading cause of low yield
and therefore urged farmers to take the training very seriously.

He noted that continuous cropping for instance
did not only result in loss of soil fertility, but that it also caused
infestation which affected crop yield and entreated farmers to rotate
leguminous crops such as soybeans with cereals such as sorghum to maximise the
nitrogen credit of legumes for better output.

According to Dr Mahama, information from the
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) indicated that soil depletion in
northern Ghana contributed to low production but added that it could be
improved with crop rotation using legumes.

He implored farmers to see farming as a
business and follow appropriate farming practices to maximise the full
potential of their activities to improve their living standards. 

Some of the farmers expressed satisfaction
about the exercise and pledged to pass on the knowledge received to their
colleagues.

GNA

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