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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Prioritise shea trees – Farmers advised –

Dr. Michael Teye Barnor, a Plant Breeder at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) in Bole, has advised farmers, especially those in the savannah ecological zone, to preserve the shea tree from going extinct by integrating it into their crop production system.

He said such initiatives would not only help maximize the economic benefits of the shea tree but also restore the depleted vegetation, which has exposed communities to floods, droughts, and food insecurity.

Dr. Barnor gave the advice in a presentation on the prospects for the shea tree at a two-day research pipeline workshop held in Tamale.

He expressed the need to invest, optimize, and popularize developed technologies required to promote efficient shea development plantations.

The workshop was organized by Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience (Ghana MSR) Activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It aimed to showcase technologies and crops that were legally released, registered, and ready for commercialization, as well as the upscaling of other technologies that would be ready in the coming years.

It was attended by research scientists, seed companies, out-grower businesses, agro-input dealers, agro-processors, and equipment dealers from the northern sector of the country to dialogue on advancing research and technology to sustainably improve productivity.

Mr. Samson Konlan, Enabling Environment Team Lead for Ghana MSR Activity, said the event was tailored to ensure stakeholders were fully aware of the technologies at the various stages of their life cycles, whether on the pipeline, under trial, released, commercialized, or for upscaling.

He said the workshop was, among other things, to help develop a roadmap highlighting the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in the technology upscaling and commercialization processes.

Dr. Emmanuel Yaw Owusu, a Research Scientist and Cowpea Breeder at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), said CSIR-SARI had developed some cowpea priority varieties ready for upscaling, including Kirkhouse-Benga and Wang-Kae, which were rich in both protein and iron with a maximum yield of 2.4 tons per hectare, respectively.

He said other varieties that had been released since 2022 and were yet to be commercialized included Kanton-Bongdaa and Awudu-Benga, adding that the varieties were tolerant to drought and other harsh weather conditions.

Mr. Abdallah Abubakari, Secretary of the Northern Out-grower Business Association, bemoaned the inadequate harvesting machines, such as mechanical planters, and the lack of modern storage and warehousing systems for farmers.

He called for more robust local seeds, driven by strong research and private sector collaboration, to improve food production.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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