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Upper West farmers opt for new technology as tractors become redundant

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TractorFarmers in two communities in the Upper West Region have adopted a new technology that does not require ploughing their fields with tractors or hoes before planting their crops.

Under this new method of farming known as zero-tillage, farmers in Nyoli in the Wa West District and Busa-Tangazu in the Wa Municipality are using weed killers to spray their fields and sow their seeds without any form of ploughing.

This has increased their yield by ten per cent and reduced costs by about 50 per cent in the last two years since the new technology was introduced to the farmers.

The technology which was introduced to the two communities is the collaborative effort between the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research CSIR and the Kansas State University of the United States of America.

The introduction of the technology is under a five-year project which is being funded by USAID’s “Feed the Future Fund” project, and it aims at supporting farmers to obtain adequate yields from their farms at the minimal cost.

At a participatory evaluation workshop on the Project in Wa over the weekend, the participants, who were all farmers from the two beneficiary communities, lauded the project for drastically reducing ploughing and other supplementary costs in their farming operations.

They appealed to the sponsors of the project and the implementing agencies to extend the services to include more farmers in other communities.

They said high yields of their produce at less cost, high nutrient level of the soils due to residue retention, high moisture of soils from the decomposed residue and reduction in erosion were some of the benefits associated with the new technology.

Mr Anthony Mwinituma, one of the beneficiary farmers from Nyoli, said with two litres of weed killers at a total cost of GH¢ 18 he was able to spray one acre of land for planting while he would have needed GH¢ 60 to plough the same plot of land using a tractor.

As a result, he said, he had been able to plant 15 acres of maize, soya bean, groundnuts and cow pea this year.

Madam Elizabeth Donleh, a cowpea and vegetable farmer at Busa-Tangazu, said she adopted the technology because of the many advantages it had over the use of tractors adding that “about 90 per cent of farmers in our community are making tractors redundant”.

Professor Vara Pasad, Lead Investigator of the Project, in an interview by phone from the USA, said the project aims at using the best conservation strategies to maximize the limited resources in the region for agricultural production.

He called on government to fund research institutions in the country to develop appropriate technologies for efficient and sustainable agricultural production.

Source: GNA

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