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CSIR-SARI encourages compost use among smallholder farmers in Upper East Region

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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) is advocating the use of compost among smallholder farmers in the Upper East Region through the Grow Further project.

This three-year initiative, which commenced in 2023 and is set to conclude in 2026, aims to improve food and nutrition security, enhance climate adaptation, and increase income among smallholder farmers cultivating the indigenous Bambara groundnut crop.

Alhassan Nuhu Jinbaane, the Principal Investigator at CSIR-SARI, Nyankpala, indicated that the project aims to release new Bambara varieties suited for Northern Ghana, the Transitional Zone, and the Coastal Zone. “The project is focused on extending good agronomic practices to farmers, ensuring they can maximize the potential of their crops,” Jinbaane stated.

As part of this objective, farmers in the Awaradoone community in the Talensi district have received training on how to prepare compost using locally available materials such as maize stalks, groundnut husks, rice bran, fresh leaves, animal droppings, ash, and water.

Additionally, the Winkogo Daboren community in Talensi and the Sakpare and Kabore communities in the Bawku West district are also benefiting from this initiative.

Rashidatu Abdulai, Assistant Research Scientist with CSIR-SARI, Nyankpala, who conducted the training sessions, emphasized the importance of compost for soil health. “Compost is crucial as it adds carbon to the soil, making the nutrients more available to plants,” she explained. “It enriches the soil with nutrients necessary for plant growth.”

Madam Abdulai also pointed out that the use of compost contributes to climate change mitigation, aligning with Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Instead of burning plant residues, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, containing them in a pit promotes carbon sequestration. This practice supports our efforts towards achieving Goal 13 of the SDGs,” she noted.

Ayaaba Abanga Simon, the Agric Extension Agent in charge of the Winkogo/Pusu-Namongo operational area, urged the farmers to embrace the use of organic fertilizer, saying that chemical fertilizer makes the soil more acidic and affects crop production. A farmer, Azure Mark, expressed gratitude to CSIR-SARI for the training. “The chemical fertilizer I’ve been using is not only expensive but also difficult to access. Compost, on the other hand, can be produced using local materials at no cost,” he said.

“The compost sustains soil nutrients for up to 3 years, but when you use chemical fertilizer, it sustains soil fertility only in the year it is applied,” Rita Anafo, a 65-year-old farmer from Awaradone, stated.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Joshua Asaah|Winkogo|Ghana

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