UER records increase in crop production

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Agriculture

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Agriculture

Maize production in the Upper East Region saw an increase from a crop area production of 52,688 hectares in 2017 to 131,632 hectares in 2018.

Sorghum production, which is also on the increase, had a leap from 50,628 hectares in 2017 to 72,010 hectares in 2018, while rice production went from 43,350 hectares in 2017 to 98,143 hectares last year.

Regional statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoFA) in Bolgatanga indicates that the region’s production level was 472,467 metric tonnes in 2018 compared to 413,431 metric tonnes in 2017.

Mr Timothy Zangina, Regional Statistician at the MOFA in an interview in Bolgatanga, said the improvement in yields was as a result of government support for seeds and farm inputs and positive response from farmers to extension advisors.

He said farmers who took advice from extension services received better yields than farmers who still used their own seeds.

Mr Zangina said the statistics also indicated that soya beans production declined from 16,329 hectares area production in 2017 to 15,871 hectares whilst millet production in 2018 was 44,304 hectares against 40,335 hectares in 2018.

He said the reducing production trend of soya bean cultivation was as result of farmers’ inability to follow required planting pattern and also because they do not recognize soya beans as a cash crop.

Mr Charles Nyaaba, Project Officer at the Peasant Farmers Association, who commented on the dynamics of soya beans and its challenges, said late harvest and the lack of needed machinery to harvest the crop were partly the cause of lots of post-harvest challenges confronting farmers in the area.

He said harvesting of soya beans comes around the same time as other crops are also due for harvesting adding that because of the lack of required labour and harvest equipment, farmers paid better attention to the other crops also due for harvesting.

He urged the government to see the crop’s relevance in poultry feed, oil production and nutritional value for children, and invest more into providing appropriate machinery to boost its production as well as help to guarantee market access for the crop.

-GNA

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