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Stakeholders strategise to increase cowpea seed production

Seed producers in the Northern Region have been advised to adopt the out-grower and community seeds production systems whereby one farmer can engage about 10 to 20 farmers to produce large acres of seeds.

The move is to help increase the production of two certified climate resilient cowpea seeds developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) under the Kirkhouse Trust project that can be supplied to farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.

The two certified climate resilient cowpea seeds being promoted under the CSIR-SARI Kirkhouse Trust project include Wang Kaye, and Kirkhouse Benga, which are high yielding, early maturing, resistant to drought, aphids amongst other qualities.

Dr Francis Kusi, Senior Research Scientist, CSIR-SARI and Lead Scientist under the Kirkhouse Trust project, said this at a forum organised by CSIR-SARI as part of its Kirkhouse Trust project at Nyankpala, near Tamale on promoting cowpea seed production through out-grower and community seed production.

The forum brought together cowpea seed growers, and staff of the Regional Department of Agriculture to introduce the two climate resilient cowpea varieties to them, and to identify strategies to ensure that enough of the seeds were produced as a region for supply to farmers under the PFJ.

There is high demand for certified cowpea seeds to be cultivated under the PFJ but local seed producers are not able to meet the demand compelling government to look elsewhere for such seeds to supply to farmers under the PFJ.

However, CSIR-SARI through Kirkhouse Trust project is determined to work with seed producers to meet the high demand for certified cowpea seeds, hence the forum.

Dr Kusi expressed optimism that the adoption of the out-grower and community seeds production systems would ensure the production of enough seeds to meet the growing demand and urged seed producers to take advantage of the situation to increase their output.

Dr Stephen Nutsugah, Director of CSIR-SARI, spoke about the value in cowpea production saying there is a lot of money in the sector stressing on the need for seed producers to work hard to meet the requirements under the PFJ.

Mr Christopher Akai, Regional Officer, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services, Northern Regional Department of Agriculture, explained the seed registration process for seed producers emphasizing the need for them to register their operations with the appropriate body for their seeds to be recognised under the PFJ.

Mr Joseph Bapule, Executive Director, Rural Innovation Consult, one of the participants at the forum, said seed producers in the region would hold an emergency meeting to strategise on the way forward to meet the rising demand.

Source: GNA

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