The Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Kansas State University in United States of America, are jointly undertaking a food security research project in the Upper West Region.
The $250,000 five-year project, known as Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, is expected to ensure food security for small farming households through development.
It is also aimed at educating farmers on conservative agriculture practices that would improve soil quality, efficient use of water, crop production, efficient use of farm inputs and labour.
Dr. Jesse Naab, Senior Research Scientist and Head of the SARI Station in Wa, who briefed Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the project on Thursday, said the scheme was being funded by United States Agency for International Development.
He said about 100 farmers from two communities from each of the three beneficiary districts in the Region – Wa Municipal, Wa West and Lawra Districts are benefiting from the project.
Dr. Naab said the project was being implemented by SARI in partnership with the Agricultural Engineering Department of Wa Polytechnic, Lassia-Tuolu Agriculture Project, Upper West Agro-Industries and Langmaal Centre for Rural Development Initiatives in Nandom.
He said farmer groups have been formed in Nyoli and Sieyiri in the Wa West District, Busa and Tanzu in the Wa Municipality and Nandom in the Lawra District.
Dr. Naab said in these communities, farmers were being assisted to test different technologies such as minimum tillage, conventional tillage, use tractors and animal traction in combination with different cropping systems and residue management.
He said: “field day sessions had been organised at Nyoli and Nandom to expose the farmers to the technologies.”
Dr Naab explained that the process involved the testing of different cropping systems using Soya beans and maize planted as sole crops or as inter crops.
He said SARI would ensure the supply of seeds, fertilizer and herbicides to the 100 farmers within the five-year duration of the programme.
Dr. Naab said SARI was collaborating with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics in Niger, to evaluate millet varieties in order to identify suitable millet varieties for farmers in the Region, which was being funded by the German Government Organisation GTZ.
He said farmers had complained that the traditional millet variety took a longer time to mature and were low yielding.
Dr. Naab explained that under the project, farmers would have the opportunity to evaluate about 20 millet genotypes and identify five of them for further testing.
This initiative, according to him, would cover about 60 selected farmers from Nyoli, Busa, Tanzu, Jonga, Diodiyiri and Piisi communities in the Region.