An integrated pest management technology, developed by the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), is said to hold the promise of effectively reducing the prevalence of pests and diseases in rice production.
The new integrated pest and disease control management technology, which is being piloted in rice demonstration farms in some selected rice producing communities, is part of strategies by CRI to reduce pest infections in rice farms and thereby, increase sustainable rice production in the country.
The development of the technology is being sponsored by Korea Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA), Ghana Center, under the KOPIA Rice Diseases and Pests” project.
Dr Kofi Frimpong Anin, a Senior Research Scientist at the CSIR-CRI, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during a field trip to one of the Demonstration farms at Bayerebon No. 5, in the Atwima-Mponua District said pest and diseases Management was crucial in rice production.
He said any attempt to make Ghana self-sufficient in rice production, needed an effective integrated pest and disease management technologies that would stand the test of time to help increase the yield and quality of the grain.
Dr Anin said under the three-year KOPIA project, which statrted in 2022, pilot demonstration farms had been set up at Offinso-Sakamu, Nobewam and Bayerebon No.5, to fill the gaps in rice pests and disease Control.
He explained that at the inception of the project, researchers monitored the pests and diseases incidents over the cropping period – thus, from nursery to maturity and harvesting.
From this, the study identified distinct types of pests and diseases, the stages of the rice that they appeared and the exact times the crops were being attacked.
He explained that once these issues were uncovered, researchers developed an integrated management technology to be able to address issues of pests and diseases.
“Because we wanted it to be an integrated approach, we used all technologies available for rice production. This included seed selection, water management, fertilizer application, weed management and the application of chemicals to control diseases and pests.”
Dr Anin told the GNA that on the fields, researchers established several plots with some imitating what the farmers were already doing, also control plots (with no intervention) and another that applied the packaged technology developed by the CSIR-CRI.
He said the outcomes had been that the technologies introduced by CRI had a stand of rice forming many tillers (about 15 compared to the farmers own which had as low as five).
Again, the grains produced from the CRI technologies were more than those produced under the farmers’ practice and the control system.
Dr Anin said since these demonstrations were on pilot basis, researchers would refine the technologies and when they receive enough funding, upscale to other rice producing areas in Ghana.
Maame Akua Serwaa, a Rice Farmer at Bayerebon No. 5 told the GNA that women in the area were passionate about rice farming.
Their challenges however, had been limited resources, adding that, the insightful knowledge gained from the project would help in managing diseases and pests to increase their yields.