High-yielding rice varieties and water management demonstration plots were established in six farming communities at the Tono Irrigation site in the Builsa North and Kassena Nanakana Municipality of the Upper East Region.
The demonstration plots were established by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a member of a consortium called Agri Leap implementing a project known as WAGRINNOVA.
The Acting Director of CSIR-SARI, Dr. Francis Kusi, explained that the technologies that were demonstrated add value to the farmer by providing them the opportunity to select their desired rice varieties to increase their yields.
He added that CSIR-SARI has over the years introduced several technologies, production strategies, and farming practices that are beneficial and translate to higher productivity at the farmers' level. Dr. Kusi further indicated that, the advantage production under irrigation is the ability to get produce to serve as a hunger breaker at this time of the year (June) when all stored food are almost finished leaving what can be planted as the rains set in.
Dr. Kusi said that the varieties of rice that were demonstrated at the Chuchuliga Midstream Zone T, were planted on the 28th of February 2022. These varieties which are ready for harvest are AGRA Rice, Togo Marshall, IR 841, Gbewaa Rice, Malimali, Savanna, and Legon rice. Irrigated production system, he added, means a lot to us in the fight against poverty and sustainable food security in Ghana.
The Project Co-ordinator with CSIR-SARI and an Agricultural Economist, Dr. Edward Martey, stated that the WAGRINNOVA project seeks to address the challenges associated with inefficient use of irrigated water among farmers.
Dr. Martey said, development practitioners are now focusing on sustainable intensification of land use, thus a small piece of land with proper land management such as right timing, quantity and application of the right fertilizer, good water management, and pest control for maximum yield as preferred to cultivating on a larger area (extensification) with poor management practice.
An Irrigation Engineer with CSIR-SARI, Ramson Adombila, explained that the soil water monitoring tools that were installed at the demonstration site showed farmers how technology works under irrigation scheduling (knowing when and how much water to apply to your crops).
The rice site at Tono Irrigation farms