Ghanaian farmers get new maize varieties
Dr Kwadwo Obeng-Antwi, Head of cereals programme of the Crops Research Institute (CRI), has appealed to multi-national companies dealing in maize seed production and sales to ensure that seeds with high nutritional value, resistance to major pests and disease as well as those tolerant to drought are sold to farmers.
Addressing more than 100 maize farmers at a field day at the Subingya Irrigation Project in the Wenchi municipality, Dr. Obeng-Antwi said it took more than yield superiority to make varieties of maize seeds acceptable for cultivation.
The field day formed part of the national maize variety trials and was organised by the CRI in collaboration with Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) and Wienco Ghana Limited with support from USAID.
It also allowed the farmers and other stakeholders to appreciate the performance of seven new hybrid varieties-(PAN 53 imported by Wienco and eight pioneer hybrids imported by AGRISERV) alongside 36 other varieties including Enibi, Abotem, Aburohemaa and Omankwa – released by the CRI/DTMA last year.
The national maize variety trials seeks to evaluate performance of new varieties of maize seeds against existing ones to determine which variety would go into on-farm trials and subsequent release to farmers.
The trials are being undertaken at Pokuase in Greater Accra, Kpeve in Volta, Fumesua and Ejura in Ashanti and Wenchi and Nkoranza in Brong-Ahafo regions.
Dr. Obeng-Antwi said CRI did not see companies dealing in maize seeds production and sales as competitors but rather as collaborators who sought
to complement efforts at ensuring that farmers were given the best varieties.
“Even when we have to compete, it should be a healthy one that will ultimately benefit mother Ghana and we should not let our cherished aim of doing business override the national interest, bearing in mind that there are rules and regulations in the country on the activities that we undertake”, he said.
Dr. Obeng-Antwi commended USAID, Wienco Ghana, DTMA, PANNAR Seed Company of South Africa and Pioneer Seed of the United States of America for supporting the trials.
Some of the farmers who later spoke with the Ghana News Agency called for an increase in the price of maize which currently sold at GH¢40 per bag.
They said even though maize had ready market in the municipality, the price for the crop was not encouraging.
The farmers said Enibi, Abontem and Aburohemaa seeds released by the CRI and DTMA in the last crop season brought tremendous harvest.
Mr. Jones Bomansah, a farmer at Amponsahkrom, said last year he cultivated 5 acres of the seeds but harvested 155 bags of maize as compared 90 to 100 bags of other varieties on the same acre of land previously.
“I was able to cultivate only two acres of land in this crop season and I am expecting to harvest at least 60 bags of maize”, Mr. Bomansah said.