The Upper West Regional Department of Agriculture has stepped up sensitisation of farmers in the area, to modern crop cultivation, to increase yield, ahead of the 2022/2023 planting season.
The Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah, who announced this, said that according to report from the meteorological service, “the rains were expected to be consistent enough throughout the year to support crop production.”
He explained that “we do not dwell mainly on the rainfall pattern. We have other things we do as a department such as sensitisation of farmers on the cropping season, to ensure that planting or cultivation was well planned, for high yield”.
Mr Yeboah in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Wa, on Wednesday, said staff of the department would be deployed to educate farmers on the weather pattern and crop cultivation.
“Farming is about strategic planning. We cannot plant all the crops together because some of them take longer time to grow, others need more rain to do well whilst others need less rains”, he said.
He said although the rain had not been consistent since its inception in February, people living in low-lying areas and valleys in the Wa East and Daffiamah-Bussie-Issah Districts, among others had started cultivation.
Mr Yeboah said that they have cultivated rice and leafy vegetables because of the nature of the land, adding that the area retained enough moisture from just a few rain falls, it was advisable for farmers to start cultivation earlier than other areas.
“When we delay education, most farmers are eager to begin cultivation the moment the first or second rain sets. Cereal crops such as maize, millet and sorghum need consistent rain to do well, so we advise them to allow the rain to stabilise”, he said.
Mr Yeboah stated that the department was working through farmer-based organisations (FBOs) to educate farmers on best agriculture practices.
He said the department did not have adequate number of extension officers in the region, and decide to work with the FBOs.
Mr Yeboah said the department had also employed the radio as a communication channel to share information on agriculture with farmers.
“This kind of interaction helps to address problems such as when to cultivate what, how to produce aflatoxins-free cereals and how and when to harvest what crop in order to reduce post-harvest loses”, he said.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA