Sorghum production to put money in farmers’ pockets

Sorghum farmers and Pito Malt processors will soon see a boost in their income as new sorghum varieties have proved to increase production and market, Dr Peter Asungre, a sorghum breeder at the Savanna Agriculture Research Station, Manga has said.

He said the market potential for the crop was as a result of more successful research outcomes and release of the sorghum varieties by the Council for Industrial Research and the Savannah Agricultural Institute (CSIR-SARI stationed at Manga in the Upper East Region.

Dr Asungre said this during a field trip undertaken by the Department of Agriculture with farmers from the region to demonstration farms of a new sorghum hybrid named PAC 501, Bambara beans, and Frafra potato at the Manga Agricultural station.

He said Guinness Ghana had taken the lead to assure farmers of a ready market for the sorghum.

“For every commercial farmer, there is need to be assured that there is ready market access before production,” he added.

He said the station’s collaborators, CalliGhana, Faranaaya, agri-business organisations, and 2scale, an NGO, were working to help farmers and seed out-growers and also ensure availability of the foundation seed and increase production of the crop as well as market access.

“There is money in farming sorghum and even if you don’t eat it you can make money from producing it,” the scientist stressed.

Dr Asungre who explained the outcomes when he took the farmers round the fields, said sorghum consumption was currently being taken over by maize, and the new technology being conducted by the Manga Agricultural station to improve its performance, resulted in the release of the ‘Kapaala’ variety, which had 105 to 116 maturity days and yield of four tonnes per hectare and the ‘Dorado’ Sorghum variety.

He said ‘Dorado’ had 105 to 116 maturity days with yield levels of 3.5 metric tonnes per hectare and added that the new technology PAC 501 hybrid, which is yet to be released, had yield levels of 7.5 tons per hectare and noted the station was also working to ensure tolerable afflation content in the grain.

He urged farmers to take advantage of the opportunity to increase production because the crop did well in the region.

“We are experiencing climate change because of weather patterns but the soils do well with the new seed since it does not require much water and inputs.

On the foundation seed, he assured farmers of CSIR- SARI quality seed supply.

Certified ‘Kapaala’ and ‘dorado’ was this year’s cropping season sold at GH¢5.00 per kilo to farmers under the Government Flagship Programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJs). GNA

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