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Farmers urged to grow indigenous crops

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Farmers in the country have been encouraged to return to cultivating indigenous crop species in order to improve food security.

Aside their nutritional benefits, indigenous crops such as Frafra Potato have the added advantage of tolerating drought conditions and thriving on marginal soils, one of the key problems confronting farmers in the Northern region of Ghana.

As well these indigenous crops have the potential to contribute to achieving five of the Sustainable Development Goals (1, 2, 3, 8 and 15).

“Frafra Potato and other indigenous crop species are better adopted in degraded environment. Indigenous crops are major key in achieving these SDGs because they are nutritious and yields high in nature”  

Senior Lecturer of the Department of Crop Science of University of Ghana, Dr. Naalamle Amissah revealed this in an exclusive interview with A1 News.

Dr. Amissah said this during a dissemination workshop held at Manga Station of Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for 40 Agricultural Extension Agents in the Upper East Region.

She admonished the public to revert back to the cultivation and consumption of indigenous crops such as the Frafra Potato.

It will be recalled that the Manga station of CSIR-SARI in the Binduri District in 2017 released 5 varieties of Frafra Potato being the first of its kind in Africa.

The researchers during their findings also developed a stem cutting propagation method (a climate smart adaptation strategy), instead of the traditional way of planting using its tubers.

Senior Research Scientist of SARI based at Manga, Dr. Francis Kusi said this new technology would allow for the rapid establishment and expansion of Frafra potato fields across the region.

“The Frafra Potato is very good cash crop because of the high returns. Farmers are not able to take advantage of it because they often adopt the traditional way of using the tuber. But this technology of cutting the stem is a breakthrough for the farmers”, he said.

The Northern parts of Ghana on yearly bases is characterized by drought which affects crop yields. But Dr. Kusi was hopeful that the Frafra Potato could withstand hash weather condition due to climate change.

The dissemination workshop which was funded by the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI), of the University of Ghana seeks to train the extension officers on the new method of cultivating Frafra Potato who would in turn train farmers in their various districts for large scale production.

Some of the extension officers speaking to A1 News expressed optimism that the new varieties released and the technology developed will increase the income of farmers in the region.

“For some time now, farmers have been battling with the fall armyworm, so I think this variety of the Frafra Potato will combat the disease”, Issah Godfred, an extension officer from the Talensi District said.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah

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