An Agricultural Economist at the Wa office of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) has advised farmers to adopt agricultural technologies to help improve their farming activities and to maximize crop yield.
Dr Iddrisu Yahaha, said scientists have been developing improved seed varieties, climate resilient and high-yielding varieties as well as other technologies in the sector but that farmers were reluctant in accepting and using those varieties.
an Agricultural Economist at the Wa office of the CSIR-SARI, said this during a field demonstration exercise in Wa to introduce some field trials of crops to farmers as well as students.
The trial, which included soybean omission trial involving lime, inoculants and phosphorus and sorghum inter-cropping among others had funding support from the Soybeans Innovation Lab, a USAID supported project.
Dr Yahaya explained that the crop trials were to help improve the soybeans’ yield to international standards as well as to devise cost-efficient ways of pest control to help mitigate the challenges farmers were facing regarding pest control and crop yield.
“Our problem with agriculture in the Upper West Region is the inability of farmers to adopt improved technology”, Dr. Yahaha, who is also the Head of Department (HoD) at the SARI office in Wa, observed.
The Agricultural Economist indicated that though it would be expensive for a peasant farmer to adopt all the technologies developed, adopting at least one technology could still help improve the farmer’s productivity.
He stressed the need for effective media collaboration with SARI to inform the farmers about the available agricultural technologies and to educate them on appropriate farming techniques to help increase their productivity to reduce poverty.
Dr Peter Quandahor, an Entomologist with the CSIR-SARI office in Wa, noted that, “Climate change had become a major problem globally and unfortunately, the area affected most was agriculture.
“The effects of climate change on agriculture could result in lower crop yields and nutritional quality due to drought as well as increases in pests,” he added.
He explained that drought was one of the major challenges facing crop production with about 40 per cent of the world’s agricultural land found in arid or semi-arid regions.
Dr Quandahor added that studies showed that an increase in drought severity resulted in increasing populations of insect pests and altered the impact of insect pests on plants.
He, therefore, said scientists were developing crop varieties that could withstand the negative impact of climate change and implored farmers to adopt those improved crop varieties for their benefit.
“It is difficult for farmers to adapt to innovation. They are always used to the conventional approach to crop production”, he said.
Some of the farmers who participated in the demonstration exercise were satisfied with the trials that were ongoing and said the success of those trials would help reduce the challenges farmers were going through, especially in the area of pest control.
They said farming was all about effective pest control and application of inputs and expressed hope that if there were interventions that could reduce their cost in that, it would be a gain to the farmers.
Mr Karim Alhassan, a participant, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that, “If it (the trial) works it will be very good for the farmers because it will reduce our cost of buying inputs.”
“Controlling pests on the farm is also very expensive, so, if a method like this (inter-cropping) can help to repel some of the pests then it will reduce our cost of buying pesticide, which the cost is rising every day,” he added.
The soybeans trial was also done in the Northern and Upper East Regions as well as other West African countries including Cameroon.
By Philip Tengzu, GNA