Rev-Dr. Benjamin D. K. Ahiabor
INSTITUTION: Savanna Agricultural Research Institute
QUALIFICATION: B.Sc. (Hons) Agriculture; M.Sc. (Plant Nutrition & Fertilizer Science) & PhD (Plant Nutrition Science)
AREA OF SPECIALISATION: Plant Nutrition & Fertilizer Science (Soil Microbiology)
NATIONAL COLLABORATION: ISSER, Univ. of Ghana, Legon, Ghana; Kwame Nkrumah Univ. of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; IITA, Tamale, Ghana; Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Ghana.
INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION: EMBRAPA Agrobiologia, Seropedica, Brazil; Kansas State University, USA; IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria
- PUTTING NITROGEN FIXATION TO WORK FOR
SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN AFRICA
Soybean, cowpea and groundnut are the principal grain legume crops and source of dietary protein for human nutrition in Ghana. These legume crops are able to fix nitrogen (N2) through a biological process that becomes useful to plants. This process is achieved through nodulation with rhizobium bacteria in the soil. However, the yields of these crops have been on the decline over the years due to a myriad of problems either associated with the crops or the soils. The diagnostic trials were thus designed with the aim of identifying specific nutrient(s) that could be the limiting factor(s) to yield increase in soybean, groundnut and cowpea in four communities in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region of Ghana, namely Yarigu, Saaka, Bazung and Tilli during the 2015 cropping season. Similar trials were also established in the Tolon and Karaga Districts of the Northern Region. In the Tolon district, the trials were carried out at Gbulahigu, Tunayili and Nafarang while in the latter, they were located at Kpatari-Bogu, Didogi and Kunnan. Three trials on groundnut, soybean and cowpea were established in each community except for the Karaga district where Kunnan and Kpatari-Bogu had only soybean and cowpea trials and this was due to untimely reference to the trial protocol by the MoFA’s AEA (Agricultural Extension Agent) responsible for the trial. These limiting factor(s) may be a serious soil limitation for crop production such as acidity, salinity lack of essential plant nutrients, poor drainage and shallow soil depth, among others..
Goal: To develop recommendations for combinations of variety, nutrient management and Rhizobium inoculation for soybean, cowpea and groundnut and their production areas
Objective: To determine edaphic and nutrient factors limiting the growth and yield of soybean, cowpea and groundnut in the Upper East and Northern Regions of Ghana
Collaborating Institutions: IITA (N2Africa), Tamale, Ghana; Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Ghana; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; IITA, Tamale, Ghana.
- ENHANCING SOIL HEALTH IN NORTHERN GHANA: INOCULANTS PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND UTILIZATION THROUGH PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP
This project has three specific objectives with their respective activities, namely
Objective 1: To improve the technical and institutional capacity of SARI and private sector partners in the production and dissemination of quality inoculants for smallholder legume farmers
Activity 1.1. Expand and upgrade inoculants production facility at SARI
Activity 1.2. Procure equipment and reagents for inoculants production facility at SARI
Activity 1.3. Train SARI technical and scientific staff and two post-graduate students in essential microbiology skills and BNF/inoculants production technologies at KNUST and EMBRAPA
Activity 1.4. Provide technical support to private investor to produce inoculants at SARI
Activity 1.5. Conduct an inoculants needs assessment survey (Baseline survey)
Objective 2. To enhance the supply of quality inoculants to smallholder soybean, cowpea and groundnut farmers
Activity 2.1. Organize promotional meetings between farmers and inoculants sales and distribution agents
Activity 2.2. Engage ESOKO to link farmers to inoculants sales agents to buy inoculants
Activity 2.3. Develop quality control standards for inoculants production, distribution and use
Activity 2.4.1Profile and geo-reference agro-input dealers to sell/distribute inoculants
Activity 2.5. Assist in delivering inoculants to and from sales and distribution points
Objective 3. To increase the use and benefits of inoculants in the cultivation of legumes in association with cereals among smallholder farmers
Activity 3.1. Attend stakeholder meetings with legume value chain actors to cre ate awareness on inoculants use
Activity 3.2. Establish demonstrations and farmer learning centers
Activity 3.3. Organize farmer field days and exchange visits
Activity 3.4. Use radio, Media Alliance and community mobile video shows to create awareness in the benefits of inoculums use among legume farmers
Activity 3.5 Produce extension materials (e.g. posters, brochures, manuals) on inoculants technologies.
Activity 3.6. Supply foundation seeds to certified seed growers
Activity 3.7. Engage ESOKO to link farmers to markets to sell excess grains
Activity 3.8. Train Framers, NGOs Agricultural Extension Agents and agro input dealers on Inoculants handling
The project progress and annual reports have details of the achievements made so far on the above-listed activities and therefore can be accessed for reference.
Collaborating institutions include Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Ghana; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; MEA Fertilizers, Nairobi, Kenya; EMBRAPA Agrobiologia, Seropedica, Brazil
- High quality effective rhizobium inoculants for grain legumes in northern Ghana
Winnefred Mensah and Deborah Gumanga from CSIR-SARI were trained at Embrapa Agrobiologia from January to April, 2015 and in modern microbiology methods, inoculants production and quality control and molecular biology methods (Plates 1). They have used the skills in research activities at CSIR-SARIand at KNUST (Kumasi) in isolating novel native Ghanaian rhizobia from nodules of locally grown groundnut and cowpea crops (Plate 2). Furthermore, the skills will be applied in the new inoculants production facility being built at CSIR-SARI. Therefore, this training contributed to the establishment of rigorous inoculants quality control procedures at CSIR-SARI. The technicians produced a set of protocols on quality assurance which is available at SARI. Since October, 2015, the Ghanaian PhD student Ophelia Osei, enrolled at KNUST, has been at Embrapa Agrobiology where she will work for one year on the selection and characterization of novel Ghanaian Rhizobium strains for groundnut and on the determination of nodule occupancy of field-grown cowpea plants by inoculated elite strains. These activities will lead to selecting novel elite local strains and to evaluate effectiveness of strains under field conditions.
The on-farm evaluation of five locally-isolated rhizobium strains (three from cowpea and two from groundnut) was carried out by the two post-graduate students in the three Regions of northern Ghana using the cowpea varieties, Songotra and Padi-tuya as the test crops and rhizobium strains BR3267 and USDA 110 as checks. Data collection is still in progress. Work is on-going at Embrapa on the isolation of rhizobium strains from nodules sampled from Bambara groundnut. SARI procured 50 pieces of laboratory equipment, reagents and consumables which will be installed by staff from Embrapa when the laboratory is ready. One on-station and three on-farm trials were carried out in the Tolon District of the Northern Region of Ghana in the Guinea Savanna agro-ecological zone during the 2015 cropping season to evaluate the nodulation, growth and yield responses of cowpea (variety Songotra) to rhizobium inoculation (with Brazilian strains, BR3262 & BR3267) and application of nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium sulphate)(40 kg N and 80 kg N/ha) (Plates 3-7). Each treatment received a blanket application of 60 kg P2O5/ha. Lambda Super 2.5 EC was used to control insects during the vegetative stage whereas D- Ban insecticide was used to control sucking bugs and pod borers at flower initiation and pod-set stages. Nodulation and shoot & root biomass were assessed at 36 days after planting (Plate 8) whereas haulm weight, pod and grain yields and 1000-seed weight were determined at maturity. With co-funding from the inoculants production project, community video screenings were organized to disseminate inoculants technology to farmers in the Northern Region and also assessment of agro-input dealers’ willingness to invest in legume inoculant in northern Ghana was carried out..
Collaborators: EMBRAPA Agrobiologia, Seropedica, Brazil; KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana; Smallholder Farmers
TECHNOLOGIES/INNOVATIONS DEVELOPED AND MAKING IMPACT ON LIVES AT VARIOUS SOCIETAL OR SOCIAL LEVEL
IMPACT OF RESEARCH ON COMMUNITIES
Below are some case studies as examples of the impact that the inoculants production project has been making on smallholder farmers
PUBLICATIONS AND MANUALS
- Ahiabor, S. Yakubu, A. Tijani, S. Buah, P. Tanzubil, M. Abu-juam, J. Ameyuuri and A. Hu (2005).
Fonio Production Manual. Published by the Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.
- Tanzubil, J. Ameyuuri, S. Yakubu, B. Ahiabor, S. Buah and M. Abu-juam (2005). Fafra
Potato Cultivation Manual. Published by the Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.
- Buah, A. Hudu, S. Yakubu, P. Tanzubil, B. Ahiabor, M. Abu-juam and A. Tijani (2005).
Kersting’s groundnut Cultivation Manual. Published by the Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.
- Ahiabor, S. Yakubu, S. Buah and M. Abu-juam (2006). ‘Agushi’ Production Manual.
Published by the Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.
- Buah, S. Yakubu, B. Ahiabor, A. Tijani and M. Abu-juam (2006). Sesame Production Manual.
Published by the Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.
- Fosu, B.D.K. Ahiabor, J.M. Kombiok, S. S. Buah, R. Kanton, F. Kusi, W.K. Atakora and M. Asante (2012): Soybean: A production guide for northern Ghana. Funded by AGRA Soil Health Project, SARI
- Fosu, B.D.K. Ahiabor, J.M. Kombiok, S. S. Buah, R. Kanton, F. Kusi, W.K. Atakora and M. Asante (2012): Production Manual: Soybean Nitrogen Fixation and Rhizobium Inoculation, pp. 15. Funded by AGRA Soil Health Project, SARI
- Fosu, B.D.K. Ahiabor, J.M. Kombiok, S. S. Buah, R. Kanton, F. Kusi, W.K. Atakora and M. Asante (2012): Cowpea: A production guide for northern Ghana, pp. 18. Funded by AGRA Soil Health Project, SARI
- Fosu, B.D.K. Ahiabor, J.M. Kombiok, S. S. Buah, R. Kanton, F. Kusi, W.K. Atakora and M. Asante (2012): Groundnut: A production guide for northern Ghana, pp. 12. Funded by AGRA Soil Health Project, SARI
- Fosu, B.D.K. Ahiabor, J.M. Kombiok, S. S. Buah, R. Kanton, F. Kusi, W.K. Atakora and M. Asante (2012): Maize: A production guide for northern Ghana, pp. 12. Funded by AGRA Soil Health Project, SARI
- Fosu, J.M. Kombiok, G.K. Ekekpi, S. Buah, F. Kusi and B. Ahiabor (2013): Agricultural Extension Communication and Technology Dissemination. A training manual for Agricultural Extension Agents, AGRA Soil Health Project, CSIR-SARI/MF/2013/02PUBLICATIONS AND JOURNALS
Ahiabor, B. D. K. and Duah-Yentumi, S. (1991): Effects of the pesticides Primagram and Kocide 101 on microbial population and respiration in two Ghanaian soils. Legon Agrc. Res. and Ext. J. vol. 3, 27-35.
Ahiabor, B. D. and Hirata, H. (1994): Characteristic responses of three tropical legumes to the inoculation of two species of VAM fungi in Andosol soils with different fertilities. Mycorrhiza, 5, 63-70.
Ahiabor, B. D. and Hirata, H. (1995): Influence of growth stage on the association between some tropical legumes and two variant species of Glomus in an Andosol. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr., 41 (3), 481 – 496.
Ahiabor, B. D. and Hirata, H. (2003): Associative influence of soluble phosphate and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus on plant growth and phosphorus uptake of three tropical legumes. West African Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 4, 75-90.
Ahiabor, B. D. K., Nutsugah, S. K.,Yakubu, S. and Buah, S. S. (2006). Disease incidences in some endangered indigenous crop species grown in a garden at Golinga in the Northern Region of Ghana. The Savanna Farmer. Vol. 7, No. 2, 24-26
Ahiabor, B. D. K., Fosu, M., Tibo, I. and Sumaila, I. (2007). Comparative nitrogen fixation, native arbuscular mycorrhiza formation and biomass production potentials of some grain legume species grown in the field in the Guinea Savanna Zone of Ghana. West African Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 11, 89-98.
D. K. Ahiabor and H. Hirata (2007). Growth and mineral responses of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal cowpea, pigeon pea and groundnut to phosphorus sources of different solubilities. Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 27 (3), 43-56.
Buah, S. S. J., Huudu, A. B., Ahiabor, B. D. K., Yakubu,S. and Abu-Juam, M. (2010). Farmer as sessment, conservation and utilization of endangered sorghum landraces in the Upper West Region of Ghana. West African Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 17:11-25
Ahiabor, B. D. K., Fosu M. and Tibo I. (2010). Effect of pre-crop type on growth and yield of maize on two soils in the Guinea Savanna zone of Ghana. West African Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 17:55-63
Martey, A.N. Wiredu, P.M. Etwire, M. Fosu, S.S.J. Buah, J. Bidzakin, B.D.K. Ahiabor and F.