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New Technology increases yields of farmers
Posted on: 20-Jul-2013         Source: GNA
Yields of maize farmers practicing the Integrated Soil Fertility Management’s (ISFM) new Technology increased from four bags per acre previously to 12 bags per acre on an average.

The boost amounting to 200 per cent increase in the last harvesting season has contributed about GH¢ 750, 000 to the nation’s economy.
Dr Mathias Fosu, a Senior Research Officer at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) disclosed this when a team from the Alliance for Green Revolution (AGRA), led by its President Ms Jane Karuku, visited various project partners in Tamale.
The one-day visit took the officials to some demonstration farms and held various meetings with partners.
The ISFM is a component of the Agricultural Value Chain Mentorship Project (AVCMP), an AGRA project, which aimed at contributing to the government’s objective of achieving food security and developing the region’s agricultural sector into an agro-industrial economy.
The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) funded the project through the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, a three-year project, targeting some 34,000 smallholder farmers and 680 Farmer Based Organisations (FBO).
Dr Fosu said there was a similar increase for soybean farmers from three bags per acre previously to eight bags when farmers used rhizobium inoculants, representing 150 per cent.

He said a survey conducted revealed that a total of 117, 000 farmers across the project districts had adopted the ISFM technology.
Mrs Afua Ayisbea Ohene-Ampofo, a Project Manager at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) said the project sought to transform the agricultural value chain into a highly productive, efficient, competitive and sustainable system by strengthening the capacity of agro-dealers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and FBO’s.
She said AVCMP was jointly being implemented by IFDC, the Ghana Agricultural Associations Business and Information Center (GAABIC) and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI).
Mrs Ohene-Ampofo explained that IFDC’s role was to help increase maize, rice and soybean farmers’ access to output markets by building the entrepreneurial and technical capacity of SMEs.
“This includes strengthening SMEs’ linkages with domestic, national and international markets, agro-dealers, agribusiness service providers, FBOs and farmers,” she said.

GAABIC’s role she said, was to improve agro-dealers’ business management skills and their capacity to provide customers with fertilizers and seeds whilst SARI is training FBOs and their farmer-members in integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) and encouraging its widespread adoption.

Ms Karuku commended all the partner institutions for their hard work, passion and dedication towards the implementation of the various projects.
She said it was AGRA’s strategy to use different approaches and innovation to help small holder farmers, especially women, who are the most marginalised to succeed.
Ms Karuku advised partners to develop novelty ways of converting challenges to gains to help achieve the project’s objective of improving the livelihood of one million farmers.
She assured that AGRA would continue to work alongside governments to support small-holder farmers and especially women’s farmer groups.

At the Savanna Bandayile Farmers Cooperative, the Operations Manager, Mr Mohammed Sumaila complained about the stock of maize from last season, which had not been bought due to low market prices being offered by companies.

“We bought a maxi bag from the farmers at GH¢25.00, transported and processed it but the companies want to buy it at the same price we bought it.”

“It is a problem for us because we need to pay back our credit and even then we stand the chance of losing about GH¢500,000 if the stock is not bought”, he explained.

Mr Sumaila appealed to operators of the platform that link players in the agriculture value chain, such as mfarm and essoko to feature off-takers around the neighboring countries to purchase the products.
Dr Wilson Dogbe, Head of Rice Programme at SARI said although the region had the capacity to produce grains to feed the country, government and other international organizations needed to focus attention on increasing the extension personnel and infrastructure development, including building more dams for irrigation during the dry season.
He said effective strategies should be put in place to further subsidize farm inputs and machinery as well as ensure reliable market.