Smallholder farmers in northern Ghana will soon witness a significant improvement in yields of their farm produces. This is especially to smallholder legume farmers in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions whose capacity will be developed to apply the rhizobium inoculants technology to raise the yields of cowpea, groundnut and soybean.
This is because the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) in collaboration with the Embrapa Agrobiologia in Brazil have launched the M-Boss project to scaling-up the benefits of rhizobium inoculants technology among smallholder legume farmers in northern Ghana at Nyankpala on November 29, 2017.
The implementation of the project will last for three years and an estimated 30,000 farmers are expected to benefit. Delivering his keynote address at the launching, the Director General CSIR-Ghana, Dr Victor Kwame Agyeman said the overall goal of the Rhizobium Inoculant project remains the achievement of food security and improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the cowpea, groundnut and soybean value chains. This he noted will strengthen their capacity for sustainable and competitive quality cowpea, groundnut and soybean production.
According to Dr. Agyeman, much of agriculture in developing countries and especially on small farms takes place using land and labor, with few complementary capital investments, fertilizers, improved seed, crop protection chemicals, irrigation and drainage and machinery.
He said the inoculants scaling-up project comes in handy as one of the ways to encourage use of requisite good agricultural practices inputs. He added “I have no doubt that CSIR-SARI is well positioned to successfully implement this project”. He further disclosed three strategic plans for the implementation of the project.
He mentioned that, training of staff for inoculants production and rigorous quality control; private sector engagement in inoculants production; and commercialization of production and distribution of quality inoculants are however his interest areas.
The CSIR-Ghana Director General stated the project will reach 30% of the target 30,000 legume farmers in five regions. This means that, 9,000 women farmers are expected to be covered. He however urged that, Principal Investigators of CSIR-SARI and Embrapa should sponsor a social economic study on the structure of farming in the five regions that will participate in the project implementation.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) Dr. Stephen K. Nutsugah disclosed that the Inoculum Production Project is geared towards empowering farmers to achieve sustainable production with an added value of achieving sustainable land use for agricultural production.
He said that the Inuculum Production Project is in tandem with the policy objectives and strategies of the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) (2011-2015) in which sustainable management of land and environment is a key objective.
Dr. Stephen Nutsugah was however optimistic that, the CSIR-SARI is surely in the business of empowering farmers in the north of Ghana. On his part, a Co-Leader of Embrapa, Dr. Luc Rouws expressed his excitement over the fact that, both Ghana and Brazil have similar weather conditions. He noted that, this is the most interesting thing in the implementation of the projects that they have involved themselves in with CSIR-SARI.
by: Mohammed Gadafi_northstarfmonline.com _Ghana-Tamale