Keta Vegetable Farmers Can Now Cultivate All-Year-Round

Prof. MadsenVegetable farmers in the Keta municipality and its environs who hitherto farm for only three months can now plant crops throughout the year.

This is due to the introduction of three varieties of tomato seeds that can withstand the dry season conditions.

The research conducted by three PhD students of the University of Ghana in the area has led to the introductions of the new crops as well as assessed the environmental impact of horticulture system on leaching.

The research, conducted under the “Sustainable Food Production through irrigated intensive Farming Systems in West Africa (SIFA) was a joint project of University of the Ghana, the Copenhagen University and Arhus University of Denmark and funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

Speaking at a one-day workshop on the achievement of the project, Professor Henrik Madsen of the Department of Geography of the Copenhagen University, said the project was targeted at increasing the stability of savannah agriculture by introducing new water saving sustainable drip irrigation under two cropping systems in the Volta Region.

He said that the Keta area was chosen because of its intensive horticulture system with high input of cow dung and poultry droppings with much dependence on irrigation in the dry season.

Prof Madsen said though the sprinkler irrigation had also been introduced, the question that arose was whether it was sustainable.

“It was to save this situation that the new varieties of the seeds must go with a drip irrigation system that would not waste water as well as the soil nutrients”, he added.

The Project Co-ordinator, Prof Patrick K. Ofori-Danson, expressed optimism that the new cropping system would increase the nutrient content in immediate vicinity of the lagoon.

Prof Ofori-Danson urged the farmers to become more involved so as to work positively to protect and improve the irrigation practice for improved livelihoods not only in the area but also other coastal regions of West Africa.
A beneficiary of the project Mr Edward K. Ahiabor, said the new seeds when made available to farmers would enable them to crop in February, March, April which is the dry season.

He said the new varieties had helped him produce tomato for the first time during the period and hopes to sustain it.
Two of the researchers, Ms Yvonne Kugblenu and Mr Eric Danson, who undertook the project on tomato and okro respectively, expressed the hope that the findings would be made available to improve the livelihood of farmers in the Keta Basin.  By Lawrence Akpalu

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