The Savannah Agriculture Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), Manga Station, has introduced farmers in the Upper East Region to new improved agricultural technologies to increase productivity and quality.
At a technology park established at Manga with support from Agriculture Manufacturing Group (AMG) Limited, a local fertilizer production and distribution company, about 180 farmers from six districts including; Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Tempane, Garu, Binduri and Pusiga Districts were introduced to new improved crop varieties and proven best farming practices that would lead to quality yields.
The demonstration further brought together beneficiary District Directors of the Department of Agriculture, the Agriculture Extension Agents as well as staff of CSIR-SARI.
Dr Francis Kusi, the lead Senior Research Scientist of the team of scientists and technicians CSIR-SARI, Manga Station, who established the Technology Park said one of the technologies introduced to the farmers and other stakeholders at the demonstration field was drip irrigation system.
He explained the drip irrigation technology was designed to suit the dry savannah zone of the northern part of Ghana particularly the Upper East Region to ensure efficient utilization of the limited water resources to maximize production for long period even up to eight months’ dry season.
“The other technologies include;improved crop varieties of cowpea, maize, soybeans and vegetables as well as improved agronomic practices and insect pests and diseases management strategies to cultivate the improved crop varieties to increase productivity,” he added.
The Lead Scientist noted that crops had the potentials to yield quality results, however, when the best agronomic practices especially the application of fertilizers were not ensured, it would lead to low production.
He said his outfit's aim was to equip the farmers and staff of the Department of Agriculture to increase their knowledge base to increase agriculture production and improve upon the security efforts of the country.
Dr Kusi encouraged the farmers to adopt the improved practices to augment the government’s efforts to promote their access to quality improved seeds and fertilizer under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme to further increase food production and productivity in Ghana.
The Lead Scientist noted CSIR-SARI had generated a good number of technologies, which needed to be disseminated to the end users, however, they were always confronted with inadequate funds and expressed gratitude to AMG for sponsoring the establishment of the Technology Park and dissemination of the technologies to the farmers and other stakeholders.
Dr Julius Yirzagla, the Agronomist on the Research Team, identified low soil fertility and wrong and low fertilizer application as major factors of low food productivity in Ghana and explained that there was the need to determine soil physical properties and nutrient contents mainly to determine fertilizer recommendations and to link yield responses to these soil nutrient properties.
He therefore appealed to other organizations to sponsor the CSIR-SARI to undertake more research that would help solve agricultural challenges and improve productivity in Ghana.
The farmers lauded the efforts of CSIR-SARI and AMG for introducing them to varied new technologies that would help improve their agriculture activities to increase yields and quality.
Mr George Assibi Fuseini, a farmer from the Binduri District, noted the knowledge acquired would enable him employ the best agronomic practices to increase production and promised to extend the information to his other colleagues.
Madam Cynthia Kombat, another farmer from Tempane District who expressed gratitude to CSIR-SARI and its sponsors said the new technologies had broadened their knowledge and could apply to cultivate several all crops even throughout dry seasons.