The Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) has trained its extension staff in Bolgatanga on Climate-smart Agriculture (CSA).
The training was based on minimising climate-related risks for sustainable crop production and enhancing the knowledge of the staff on the impact and effects of climate change.
The participants also discussed and agreed on practical steps for reducing climate-related risks to crop production in the region.
It was also to help break down the complexity of technical terminologies in climate change topics to help the extension staff effectively disseminate information to farmers.
Dr. Alhassan Lansah Abdulai, an Agro-Meteorologist in the CSIR-SARI and the resource person for the training session, said “some of the impacts and effects of climate variability are that they lead to reduced agricultural productivity, disrupted food availability, reduced access to food, and reduced quality of food.”
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the training program, Dr. Abdulai said Climate Change posed lots of risks to agriculture especially “in our part of the world in relation to the food systems “.
He said the risks could be reduced to some extent if the soil is worked on and all stakeholders agreed to take climate services seriously.
“If farmers hit up to 70 percent of the yield potential of any given variety released and it remains consistent, then we can say the farmer is practicing climate-smart agriculture”, he said and added that seed varieties released were climate smart.
On Chemical Fertilizer, Dr. Abdulai said the practice of CSA was not against its use but required integrated soil fertility management.
‘Chemical fertilizer should be used in conjunction with organic manure and not totally replaced by it,” he added.
Dr. Abdulai said heavy volumes of organic manure were needed for crops to do well and that was a daunting task for any farmer and indicated that together with the chemical fertilizer, the organic manure served as a conditioner to hold the chemical fertilizer in place for the plant and optimize the effect of the chemical fertilizer on the plants.
Dr Abdulai who earlier responded to some reactions from participants at the training session urged the extension staff to also Plan their year of cropping season as if the last rain will be by October 15.
“One rule of thumb is that make sure that the critical phases will not coincide with any date after 30th September because our rains end in October and you cannot rely on the rain that comes after October rainfall for your agriculture” The resource person stressed.
He added that “We are in July and ‘any variety within 75 days and 90 days can still be planted”.