Farmers’ field day held at Domeabra

Farmers and researchers  sharing ideas on the farm

Farmers and researchers sharing ideas on the farm

A farmers’ field day was held at Domeabra, near Sefwi Boako, in the Sefwi Wiawso municipality of the Western Region on Wednesday to share experiences on the implementation of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) practices.

ISFM involves integrating tree crops on agricultural farming systems to increase yields, resilience and carbon stocks.

The collaborative efforts between Soil Research Institute (SRI)and Crop Research Institute (CRI), which began in August 2018, seeks to strengthen communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change through the promotion of more resilient agroforestry schemes.

The five-year programme under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and Forestry Commission, and supported by the Africa Development Bank, is part  of efforts to  protect Ghana’s soil cover, which is under serious stress from degradation.

Various stakeholders, including farming groups, the Youth in Agriculture, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), SRI and CRI participated in the event to share ideas on biochar from corn cob and combined biochar from poultry manure and sawdust applied on maize, plantain and cassava on demonstration farms at Domeabra and other sites.

The promotion of agroforestry will also enhance carbon stocks, enhance soil conservation, and increase climate resilience, to reduce the effects of drought and desertification and improve biodiversity.

Through stakeholder consultation identifiable technologies, including integrating tree crops on agricultural farming systems to increase yields, resilience and carbon stocks were prioritised.

Dr Edward Yeboah, Project Leader of Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), explained that the ISFM involved the use of animal droppings and inorganic fertiliser, while the biochar was produced by packing a barrel with feedstocks (corn cobs) which was pyrolysed by applying some relative heat to roast them and later applied on the field.

For the third technology, he said, no manure was applied on cassava, maize and plantain, and hoped that the farmers would use the new methods on their farm and experience the difference.

The planting materials used for the demonstrations were improved varieties such as ‘Omankwa’ for maize, ‘Bankyehemaa’, for cassava, ‘Songotra’ for cowpea were obtained from the CSIR-Crops Research Institute, the soil scientist said.

He noted that land degradation, desertification, and drought were widespread global issues that increasingly threatened the future of our environment and also resulted in the loss of ecosystem services from land and land-based ecosystems that were necessary for human livelihoods.

The Director of SRI, Dr Moro Buri, encouraged farmers to use the new technologies, while Dr Ebenezer Annan-Afful from CRI, maintained that though the soil was crucial to agriculture, farmers should also consider the quality of the seed they buy, assuring that the institute had adequate stock to serve them.

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, DOMEABRA

 

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