CSIR-SARI trains Bambara groundnut farmers to boost yield

By Comfort Sena Fetrie -Akagbor

Fragra (S/R), March 23, GNA – The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) has conducted specialised training sessions for smallholder farmers under the auspices of the Grow Further Bambara Groundnut Project to enhance Bambara groundnut production.

Farmers in the Fragra No.4 and Fragra No.6 communities alongside Kusawgu and Jiramoape communities, who are into bambara groundnut production, benefited from the training aimed at optimising yield and sustainability.

Led by Mr Edem Halolo and Madam Rashidatu Abdulai, who both have expertise in Biochar and Compost production and are Assistant Research Scientists at CSIR-SARI, the training, held in the communities, emphasised the adoption of innovative agricultural techniques to bolster Bambara nut yields.

Through practical demonstrations, farmers were equipped with the knowledge and skills to produce biochar from locally available farm waste materials offering a sustainable solution to soil enrichment.

Mr Halolo highlighted the pivotal role of biochar in improving soil health and nutrient retention, which were crucial factors in achieving higher crop yields.

Complementing this approach, Madam Abdulai touched on the benefits of compost in enhancing soil fertility and crop productivity.

She emphasised the importance of integrating compost alongside conventional fertilizers to create a balanced and nutrient-rich soil environment conducive to Bambara nut cultivation.

Farmers were guided through compost preparation, empowering them to harness organic resources effectively for enhanced agricultural outcomes.

The training session, organised under the Grow Further Bambara Groundnut Project, aligned with the project’s overarching objectives of promoting food security, climate resilience, and income generation among smallholder farmers in northern Ghana.

The Project also seeks to unlock the full potential of indigenous crops like Bambara Groundnut through targeted interventions and capacity-building initiatives.

Through partnerships with organisations like CSIR-SARI, Grow Further aims to revolutionise agricultural practices and uplift rural communities by harnessing the power of innovative technologies and sustainable farming methods.

The training session exemplified a collaborative effort towards realising these goals, with farmers poised to implement newfound knowledge and techniques to propel Bambara nut production to new heights.

Mr Alhassan Nuhu Jinbaani, an Agricultural Economist at CSIR-SARI, and the Principal Investigator of the Project, explained what informed the training of farmers on how to prepare biochar and compost.

He said a study conducted by CSIR-SARI, funded by Grow Further, revealed low yield levels of Bambara groundnut among farmers and poor soil health in the Bambara groundnut growing ecologies of Ghana.

He said, “This is despite the fact that organic materials are locally available, which can be used by farmers to produce both biochar and compost.”

He added that what was truly lacking were the skills and technical expertise among smallholder farmers to use these locally available organic materials to improve soil health, and consequently the yield of Bambara groundnut.

Mr Jinbaani explained that the CSIR-SARI and Grow Further Bambara Project was a three-year project, adding “As the project seeks to release improved varieties of Bambara groundnut, it will also build the technical competence of smallholder men and women Bambara groundnut producers and the youth.”

He was grateful to Grow Further, a US-based non-governmental organisation, for funding the project and for their continuous support.

He further expressed gratitude to the district directors of the Departments of Agriculture and agricultural extension officers and the farmers in the project intervention districts for their support and active participation in the project activities.