CSIR-SARI launches legumes improvement project

A three-year $689,984 project to increase the yields of cowpea, groundnut and soybean of smallholder farmers in the north has been launched.

Thirty to 50 per cent of them would be using locally-produced high-quality rhizobium inoculants and strategic applications of phosphorous fertilizer to step up yields.

The project dubbed: “Scaling up of the benefits of rhizobium inoculant technology among smallholder legume farmers in Northern Ghana” will train agricultural extension officers on inoculants use for enhanced legume production as well as facilitate the distribution and provision at low cost of inoculants by agricultural input suppliers.

It would also strengthen supply chain of legumes from the production unit to reach approximately 30,000 smallholder farmers, 30 per cent of which would be women in five regions including; the Northern, Upper East and Upper West.

The project is being implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), in partnership with EMBRAPA Agrobiology of Brazil and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Dr Victor Agyeman, Director General of CSIR, who launched the project at Nyankpala, near Tamale on Wednesday, said it would encourage use of requisite good agricultural practices inputs to boost production.

In the northern part of the country, legumes especially groundnut and cowpea are referred to as “women’s crops” therefore yields improvement through inoculation will directly benefit women by raising their ability to feed their children and increasing their economic power.

The build-up of legume residues in the soil resulting from increased legume productivity will also enhance the soil organic matter content, the storehouse of mineral nutrients for succeeding crops.

Dr Stephen Nutsugah, Director of CSIR-SARI said the project was geared towards empowering farmers to achieve sustainable production with an added value of achieving sustainable land use for agricultural production.

Dr Nutsugah described the project as another step towards efforts and desire to reduce poverty and improve the livelihood of the people of the three regions of the north.

Source:Ghana News Agency