The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has held a capacity building training workshop on grafting of cashew seedlings for 30 people.
The beneficiaries comprised Private Nursery Operators and Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) selected from the erstwhile Brong Ahafo Region.
They were taken through soft-wood grafting practicals, cashew nursery establishment and management among others.
The one-day training took place at the Wenchi Agricultural Research Station at Wenchi in the Bono Region.
The exercise was part of the implementation of the government’s flagship ‘Planting for Export and Rural Development’ (PERD), a component of Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) policy.
PERD is a government intervention, aimed at promoting rural economic growth and improving the livelihoods of rural folk through the cultivation of tree crops including cashew, mango, rubber, shea and coffee.
The Acting Manager at Wenchi Agricultural Station, Emmanuel Owusu-Poku, in a presentation underscored the importance of grafted seedlings in cashew production as compared to growing raw nuts.
He said research had proven that grafted seedlings matured and bore flowers earlier, and also produced higher yields, adding, “Raw nuts are heterogeneous in nature, and when planted, farmers will not have the same characteristics like the mother trees.”
“To achieve higher cashew productivity, source of planting material is very crucial. It is a fallacy to plant any nut hoping that it will produce quality nuts with high yield. To generate uniform crop that resembles the mother plant with traits like high yielding, good nut size, disease resistance, and uniform tree, then it must be grated seedlings,” he emphasised.
Mr Owusu-Poku also advised farmers to adopt good farming practices such as pruning, thinning and adherence to the 10×10 recommended planting distance, stressing “you can’t plant cashew in close distances like maize and expect any better yield.”
A Field Officer at the Wenchi Agric Station, Marcellinus Babai, highlighted the importance of a nursery in cashew production, indicating that it created conducive microclimate, nurtured planting materials, protected the plants against pests with minimal efforts, and saved time and labour.
He urged nursery operators to keep records in order to know the quality of materials in stock, determine estimation of returns after sales and effectively and efficiently plan.
FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, WENCHI