By Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Manga (U/E), Oct. 8, GNA – Framers in the Bawku West and Binduri districts, whose farms were destroyed by floods, have been given new variety of cowpeas to cultivate to make up for the loss.
The farmers, who numbered about 200 and farm along the White Volta catchments in the Upper East Region, were supported to use the residual moistures in the area to cultivate the two varieties of cowpeas – Kirkhouse Benga and Wang Kae – for this year’s dry season.
The two new varieties were released two years ago by a group of research scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) and approved by the National Varietal Release, and Registration Committee of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The varieties have been certified by the mandated institutions for farmers.
The Research Scientists were led by Dr Francis Kusi, a Senior Research Fellow at the CSIR-SARI in charge of the Manga Station, who explained that the new cowpea varieties have the greatest potentials of thriving in residual moisture areas and were resistant to strigas, drought, root knots, and parasitic weeds with a maturity period of three months.
Dr Kusi said the project, which was funded by the « Kirkhouse Trust SCIO, » based in the United Kingdom, had already trained many certified seed producers in the area who had in stock the new cowpea varieties for sale at moderate cost.
He said the object of introducing the affected farmers to the new variety was to help make up for their loss and increase food security while improving upon their livelihoods.
He said the demand for cowpeas was very high as many institutions, including the senior high schools, the School Feeding Programme, Ghana Prisons Service and many households relied on it for food and protein.
Dr Kusi encouraged the farmers to take advantage of the high demand of the crop to empower themselves economically.
He said his outfit had instituted measures to link farmers who would be farming the crops to marketing outlets for good prices and called on smallholder farmers to cultivate the crop.
Dr Kusi, who stated that the land around the White Volta was very rich in nutrients and suitable for the growing of the new cowpea varieties, said the varieties often produced large pods with lots of seeds.
Mr Ariku Martin Akudugu, the 2016 National Best Farmer, who has 1,375 out grower farmers and community seed producer of the new cowpea varieties among other seeds, encouraged the farmers to take advantage of the opportunity to overcome the challenges of food security.
Mr Elias Atambire, the District Director of MOFA, in charge of Bawku West, said the floods this year destroyed about 800 hectres of farm produce in the District, which was made up of maize, rice and sorghum along the White Volta and expressed optimism that the intervention would help salvage the farmers plight.