PThe Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) on Tuesday announced the introduction of two improved high yielding groundnut seed varieties.
Dr Doris Kanvenaa Puozaa, a Research Scientist in-charge of Seed System Development at the CSIR-SARI, who announced the new varieties on behalf of the research team, said the demonstration was done in collaboration with the Presbyterian Agricultural Services (PAS) with resource support from two projects partners, the Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) project, and the Upscaling Improved Groundnut Varieties Project, a collaboration between Ghana and Mali.
She said the demonstration sought to educate and show to farmers the need to adopt improved seed varieties for higher yields. Dr Puozaa said the new varieties were released last year and approved earlier this year by the National Varietal Release and Registration Committee.
The team leader said the new varieties could yield between eight to 12 bags in half an acre of land compared to the available variety which produces three to five bags on the same land size.
Dr Richard Oteng-Frimpong, Plant Breeder and Head of Groundnuts Improvement Programme at CSIR-SARI, said it took the institute about six years to come out with the improved seeds.
He said the varieties are adaptable to climate change, are high in protein and oil; have better drought tolerance and has long storage span, especially the SARI Nut 1 variety.
Dr Oteng-Frimpong said the SARI Nut 1 had longer duration of maturity and would grow very well in areas where there are longer rainy periods compared to the SARI Nut 2 which takes 90 days to mature. He urged farmers to adopt the new varieties to secure and improve on their farms to enable them harvest more yields.
The team during demonstration, compared the efficacies and yields of three seed varieties, two from CSIR-SARI named SARI Nut 1 and SARI Nut 2 and a different groundnuts variety used by farmers and locally called “Chinese “.
The demonstration confirmed that the improved groundnuts varieties from CSIR-SARI had more yields compared to the farmers of the old variety. Some of the farmers, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency during a field visit to a demonstration farm site at Dakpemyili in the East Gonja Municipality, lauded the intervention by the Institute and gave the assurance that they would adopt and use the new varieties in next farming seasons.
The farmers appealed to the Institute to make the improved varieties readily available for purchase for the next farming season.
Mrs Hawa Yahaya, a farmer from Jantong-Daashei, a community in the East Gonja Municipality, said the leaf spot diseases was one of the challenges confronting farmers in their community adding that with the intervention from CSIR-SARI, they were fully convinced that the right seeds to use were SARI Nut 1 and SARI Nut 2. She said the improved varieties would bring hope and improve on the livelihoods of farmers.
Mr Richard Dahamani, a farmer from Jantong-Dakpemyili, said the new varieties would not only give farmers higher yields but also produce healthy leaves which would be used to feed animals after harvest.