Stakeholders of the cowpea and groundnut value chain met to review activities of the Tropical Legumes III Project and finalize the country work plan and seed roadmap for the year 2018, in harmony with the country’s legumes strategies. This event took place on the 22nd of March 2018 at the CSIR-SARI Conference Hall, Nyankpala.
CSIR-SARI is collaborating with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) among other stakeholders to implement the project, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Tropical Legumes III Project aims at improving the livelihood of small-holder farmers through increased productivity and production of grain legumes. It has been implemented in selected communities in the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions since 2015 and would end in 2018.
Mr. Haruna Mohammed, a Research Scientist at CSIR-SARI, said the Project had enhanced the production of cowpea in drought-prone areas of sub-Sahara Africa in four countries; Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The Project, he said, had reduced poverty as well as improved food security among smallholder farmers, especially on cowpea and groundnut.
Dr. Julius Yirzagla, an Agronomist at CSIR-SARI, said under the ICRISAT TLIII Project, four Innovation Platforms (IPs) were established in Navrongo, Walewale, Savelugu and Wa between 2015 and 2016. These IPs have been strengthened and trained on quality seed production, good agronomic practices, post-harvest handling and pest management. Members meet once a month (functionally). Training in 2017 covered 2,861 participants with a representation of 1,236 males and 1,625 females.
Awareness creation approaches were employed to popularize new improved varieties on Cowpea Field Days and Seed fairs, Technology demonstrations, Farmer field days, distributing technology promotional materials (production guides, flyers, leaflets, and manuals). Fifty (50) demonstration fields on good agronomic practices (GAPs), IPM and Striga management were established. There was also a distribution of technology promotional materials (production guides (800), leaflets (300) and manuals). Flyers on use of PICs bags were multiplied and distributed to all communities. In 12 field days, 1,300 males and 1,100 females visited the demos during the 2017 cropping season. More Seed Producers will be engaged in seed production and marketing cowpea during the 2018 cropping season. He assured the farmers that there would be abundant groundnut and cowpea seeds during the 2018 crop season and urged them to use the seeds to increase their yield.
Dr. Richard Oteng Frimpong, a Scientist at CSIR-SARI explained that during last year’s brain-storming workshop, it was identified that awards should be given to chiefs that lease out fertile lands to women as a way of encouraging communities to support women in legume farming. He further said the component leaders are also working hard to meet the requirement of the National Varietal Release Committee (NVRC) to lead to the release of newly developed groundnut varieties. With the support of the project, they are also targeting to reach a minimum of 50 tons of breeder seeds of groundnuts. He said partners will be encouraged to produce about 1,000 tons of certified seeds for farmers production. Looking forward they will be establishing 20 additional demonstrations and hope to organize field days with at least 50% male and female representation.
Dr. Roger Kanton, the Deputy Director of CSIR-SARI, said cowpea and groundnut production had improved within the past few years as a result of the project. He urged the Government and stakeholders to promote cowpea and groundnut production in the country.