Farmers advised to prioritise shea trees

Dr Michael Teye Barnor, Plant Breeder at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) at Bole, has advised farmers, especially those in the savannah ecological zone to preserve the shea tree from going extinct by integrating it into their crop production system.

He said such initiatives would not only help maximise the economic benefits of the shea tree but also restore the depleted vegetation, which exposed communities to floods, droughts and food insecurity.

Dr Barnor gave the advice in a presentation on the prospects for the shea tree at a two-day research pipeline workshop, held in Tamale.

He expressed the need to invest, optimise and popularise developed technologies required to promote efficient shea development plantation.

The workshop was organised by Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience (Ghana MSR) Activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It was to showcase technologies and crops that were legally released, registered and ready for c
ommercialisation as well as upscaling of other technologies that would be ready in coming years.

It was attended by research scientists, seed companies, out-grower businesses, agro-input dealers, agro-processors and equipment dealers from the northern sector of the country to dialogue on advancing research and technology to sustainably improve productivity.

Mr Samson Konlan, Enabling Environment Team Lead, Ghana MSR Activity, said the event was tailored to ensure stakeholders were fully aware of the technologies at the various stages of their life cycles, either on the pipeline, under trial, released, commercialised or for upscaling.

He said the workshop was among others to help develop a roadmap highlighting roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in the technology upscaling and commercialisation processes.

Dr Emmanuel Yaw Owusu, a Research Scientist and Cowpea Breeder at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), said CSIR-SARI had deve
loped some cowpea priority varieties ready for upscaling, including Kirkhouse-Benga and Wang-Kae, which were rich in both protein and iron with a maximum yield of 2.4 tons per hectare respectively.

He said other varieties that had been released since 2022 and were yet to be commercialised included Kanton-Bongdaa and Awudu-Benga, adding the varieties were tolerant to drought and other harsh weather conditions.

Mr Abdallah Abubakari, Secretary, Northern Out-grower Business Association, bemoaned the inadequate harvesting machines such as mechanical planters and the lack of modern storage and warehousing systems for farmers.

He called for more robust local seeds, driven by strong research and private sector collaboration to improve food production.

Source: Ghana News Agency