By Joshua Asaah, GNA
Manga (U/E), Jan 22, GNA – A new farming method known as the Drip Irrigation System has been introduced in the Upper East Region to attract the youth into farming.
The Drip Irrigation Systems was developed by researchers at the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) based in Manga in the Binduri District of the Upper East Region.
The system is designed using valves and pipes to pump water from a source which runs through drip tubes to slowly drip water to the roots of crops and plants and meant to make agriculture more attractive, especially to the teaming unemployed youth in the country.
Unlike, the surface irrigation system, this new technology, which supplies water directly to the crop, maximises water especially in areas where there are insufficient sources of water supply.
The innovation prevents weeds from growing on the farm and can inject fertilizer directly on crops and plants instead of the traditional method of sprinkling fertilizer on crops which is carried away by rain or wind on to different and unintended farms.
The water dripping system is part of a USAID funded project known as Innovation Love for Climate Reliant Cowpea, implemented by SARI in partnership with the University of California.
The new technology can sustain all year round farming for five years and is suitable for the cultivation of all kinds of crops.
A researcher in-charge of SARI at Manga, Dr Francis Kusi said the method when adopted by farmers would help reduce poverty because of its efficiency for crop production.
« Like maize, farmers stand to gain about GHC 30,000 for an acre, which they can crop twice a year ».
According to Dr Kusi, the system is geared towards augmenting government’s initiatives to make agriculture more attractive to the youth.
« We did this in collaboration with MOFA and currently they are implementing a project called, ‘Modernisation of Agriculture’, which is in line with this project; trying to simplify agriculture, getting the appropriate technologies to the farmers to maximise production », he added.
Farming is not attractive in the Upper East Region due to the annual drought phenomena the region experiences. The lack of irrigable dams in the region for dry season farming has been cited as one of the causes for the migration of the region’s youth to Southern Ghana in search for greener pastures.
A Research Scientist, Ramson Adombilla who schooled the farmers introduced the new technology to about 200 selected farmers in the Kusal area on the usage and benefits of the drip cultivating system said the modernised farming method was suitable for dry season farming because of the ability of soils in the region to store underground water for longer period.
« We should be able to use drip systems in our farming system, especially in the dry season where you have majority of people cultivating onions among other vegetables to supplement the losses incurred during the rainy season as result of poor climatic conditions. »
The farmers were drawn from the Bawku Municipality as well as the Binduri, Bawku West, Pusiga and Garu-Tempane districts.
When the GNA interviewed some of the farmers, they said the initiative was the best farming system introduced to them.
They conceived that the new system had the potential to reduce the high cost incurred in cultivating crops using the traditional methods.