CSIR – SARI advise Groundnut farmers to adopt rhizobium biofertilizer

Economics Farmers Biofertilizer

Groundnut farmers have been advised to adopt the rhizobium inoculant technology or rhizobium biofertilizer developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR – SARI) to improve their yields and ensure food security.

Economics Farmers Biofertilizer Dr Edwin Akley, Research Scientist at CSIR – SARI, who gave the advice, said the rhizobium biofertilizer, apart from being cheap (costs GHc35, which is 12 times cheaper than the inorganic fertilizer, which costs about GHc500), had proven to increase groundnut yields by a little over two tonnes per hectare, which were higher than the current less than one tonne per hectare that farmers got using any input.

He said the rhizobium biofertilizer also increased the protein content of groundnut and other legumes, which was important in improving nutrition and household well-being.

Dr Akley was speaking at a groundnut demonstration farm at Golinga in the Tolon District of the Northern Region to showcase to farmers how the rhizobium biofertilizer had impacted the growth of the groundnut on the field.

The groundnut demonstration farm, which had been set up by the CSIR – SARI using the rhizobium biofertilizer, formed part of the Participatory Pathways to Sustainable Intensification: Innovation Platforms to Integrate Leguminous Crops and Inoculants into Small-Scale Agriculture and Local Value Chains (PASUSI) project in Ghana.

The PASUSI project is being implemented by a consortium of institutions namely the CSIR – SARI, University of Helsinki, Finland, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway, and Makerere University, Uganda with funding from LEAP-Agri (the European Union).

It seeks to improve farm productivity, livelihoods, nutrition and household well-being of farmers in the northern part of the country while counteracting environmental degradation.

The project is being replicated in eight districts including Tolon, Kumbungu, Nanumba North, Zabzugu, Yendi, East Mamprusi, Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri, and Tamale Metro in the Northern and North East Regions and about 10,000 farmers are expected to be reached under the project.

Dr Akley said “Currently we are witnessing an increase in the price of mineral N fertilizer coupled with the fact that it is even in short supply on the market. So, the bottom line is that can we increase our farm output through the use of microbial inoculants? We have seen in the demonstration field that the plant architecture is very good, we see a lot of root biomass, a lot of pods as well as an increase in shoot biomass and this is what we are looking for. When farmers leave the biomass on the soil after harvesting, it will decompose and add nutrients to the soil to help to improve the quality of the soil, which will improve yield and the ecosystem will be restored.”

He said the increased yields would result in improved livelihoods as farmers would have more yields to sell, which would translate into an increase in their income levels.

He indicated that the rhizobium biofertilizer did not pose a threat to the environment and said its supply was reliable because it was being produced locally.

Most of the farmers who visited the site lauded the modern technology and promised to adopt it to improve their productivity.

By Albert Futukpor, GNA


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