CSIR-SARI introduces new improved seed concept in Upper West
The Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) has introduced the Community Seed Production (CSP) concept geared toward improving farmers’ access to suitable improved crop varieties in the Upper West Region.
The Institute introduced the CSP concept with funding from the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG), a Canadian budgetary support programme, as a response to the limited availability and access to improved crop varieties, which was a major constraint to agricultural productivity in northern Ghana.
Dr George Mahama, an Agronomist at the Wa office of the CSIR-SARI, revealed this at Kpongu in the Wa Municipality during a farmers’ field day organized by the CSIR-SARI in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and MAG.
The CSP was aimed at increasing access to good quality certified seed by farmers at the community level for cultivation to help reduce the difficulties they go through in accessing certified seeds as well as to serve as a source of income to the farmer groups.
He said that the CSP was currently being implemented in selected districts in the region targeting soybean and maize, with the Kanyirin Suma, a Farmer-Based Organisation (FBO), establishing a soybean field at Kpongu with support from MAG.
“To ensure the sustainability of the project and the involvement of more farmers each year, a revolving fund from the sale of their seed will be established, which the group could use to buy seed and other inputs in the second and subsequent seasons”, Dr. Mahama explained.
He observed that the challenge in the CSP was the 2.5 acres minimum land size pegged by the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Agriculture for seed production.
He, therefore, appealed to the regulatory body to consider revising the minimum land size from 2.5 acres to one acre to help enhance the concept of the CSP, saying, “Availability of land in many communities in the region is becoming a problem.”
Dr. Mahama indicated that the CSIR-SARI had been collaborating with its partners to improve the productivity of farmers through the development of agricultural technologies.
He, therefore, urged farmers to accept new technologies developed by CSIR-SARI that would improve their farming activities and sustainably increase production and household income.
Dr. Samuel Mahama, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for MAG at the CSIR, said they established farmer groups and provided them with the necessary skills, resources, and technical support to produce certified seeds that would serve the needs of farmers in the community.
He encouraged women to take active part in agriculture for socio-economic transformation as donor attention on the sector was gradually being influenced by women’s participation.
Madam Sherifa Daud, the Group Lead for Kanyirin Suma, thanked CSIR-SARI for involving and supporting the group in the CSP programme and expressed hope that the programme would be extended to other communities in the area.
The field day was to allow farmers, Agricultural Extension Officers, agricultural research scientists, and opinion leaders to share their experiences on the interventions being demonstrated on the field.
It was also aimed at improving farmers’ technical knowledge and encouraging a change in their farming methods.
The participants, particularly farmers, lauded the CSP concept which they said had helped them to acquire new farming techniques and skills to implement on their farms.