A Senior Research Scientist at the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Prince Maxwell Etwire, has advocated investment into the seed system to improve the productivity of groundnut farming in the country.
The support would as well help train farmers on best agronomic practices that would help maximise yields, thereby making the sector lucrative with the farmers producing to meet demands of the market and populace.
Dr. Etwire, who is also an Agricultural Economist, explained that investment into seed production would help scientists to develop more climate-resistant seed varieties for the farmers to grow and meet the high demand.
These were contained in a recommendation from a research conducted by a team of research scientists at the Institute on the potentials of groundnut production and challenges confronting the sector.
The project began in 2019 with support from the Dutch government as well as other local and international partners – such as the International Crop Research Centre for Research in Dry crops based in Mali, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Agricultural Departments of the various districts of implementation.
All other seed companies and seed growers interested in groundnut production partnered the project.
“Having done the baseline survey, we rolled-out the project by exposing farmers to some new varieties that were introduced by SARI with better potentials compared to local seeds. They include SARI nut1, SARI nut2 and Nkatia SARI. We also established demonstration plots for farmers to compare their traditional varieties versus the SARI varieties. This was to enable the farmers make comparisons and judge for themselves by using the yield levels,” Dr. Etwire said.
“We also realised that none of the farmers were producing with the SARI varieties, and most of them were producing with a traditional variety called ‘Chinese’; but when we did the end line survey in November 2022, we realised that most farmers have already started producing with the SARI varieties – which is resulting in very high yields,” he added.
Dr. Etwire further added that: “Beyond the demonstrations, we also invited farmers from nearby communities to pay visits to the trial fields and observe the results for themselves. So, the difference was very clear in terms of yield levels and adoptions have been very impressive”.
He stressed the need for investment into the seed sector to help develop more quality seed varieties for farmers to grow in order to increase yields and meet the market demand. He also reiterated the institute’s commitment to do more research and also provide capacity training for the farmers, seed-growers among others, to enhance best agronomic practices for the country.