Dr. Stephen Nutsugah, the Director of the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has lauded a giant stride made by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Ghana’s agricultural sector.
He said within the few years of the implementation of the AGRA projects, beneficiary farmers had increased their crop production from an average of 1.5 tons per hectares to 2.5 tons per hectare. This implies that farmers’ production had gone up to 25 bags of cereals per hectare.
Dr. Nutsugah said this at Kpalga, a farming community in the Tolon/Kumbungu District during a farmer’s field day demonstration on soil health project.
The field demonstration was to find out the improvement of the soil fertility after application of various methods to improve the soil’s health and to educate farmers on the need to improve soil health through the application of chemicals such as fertilizer.
Dr. Nutsugah said the gains made by AGRA were as a result of the dissemination of appropriate soil fertility management technologies by the project implementation team and stakeholders in the production chain.
He said the team would continue to work assiduously to develop and disseminate appropriate technologies to increase crop productivity, reduce poverty and increase food security and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Northern Ghana.
He commended Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their financial support to CSIR-SARI to implement projects on maize, cowpea breeding, soil health and the agricultural value chain mentorship project.
Dr. Matthias Fosu, Coordinator of AGRA Soil Health Project, observed that the major limitation of farmers was poverty hence they could not purchase farm inputs such as fertilizers to improve their yields. Access to credit, he added, was also a problem.
He said through the AGRA project, 2,000 farmers and 56 farmer organizations had been assisted to manage their farms, lobby stakeholders and link 2,000 farmers to financial institutions to have access to credit to expand their farms.
Dr. Marie Rarieya, Programme Officer, Education and Training on Soil Health Programme of AGRA, indicated that the Institute’s main target was to achieve a green revolution through the value chain to ensure that farmers have good seeds, good soil and markets and institutional development.
She said Africa would achieve a green revolution and urged all stakeholders and farmers to join efforts to make it possible.