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28.07.2004 Regional News

Farmers trained in how to control groundnut diseases

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Hiawoanwu (Ash), July 28, GNA- The Crops Research Institute (CRI) has in collaboration with the North Carolina State University of the USA, initiated a project under which farmers are trained the use locally produced soap to control diseases that affect groundnut production. The project would also ease the over-dependence on of fungicides on groundnut plants.

The project known as the Integrated Pest Management (IPM), being sponsored by the Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has trained 30 farmers from four local communities in the Ejura-Sekyedumase district in the use of "Amonkyi and Alata Samina", all locally produced soap, for the control of the disease.

Dr Michael Owusu-Akyaw, Co-ordinator of the project was addressing farmers at Hiawoanwu on Tuesday on groundnut production practices under the IPM programme.

The meeting was to afford farmers, researchers, scientists and agricultural extension officers to be abreast with activities of the IPM project.

Dr Owusu-Akyaw, who is also an Entomologist at the CRI, said the project was focusing on the use of locally produced soap against groundnut diseases because it was cost effective and less harmful than fungicides.

He said the farmers were also taught techniques in weed control, field layout, site selection and resistant varieties of groundnuts. Dr Thomas Addai, Deputy Ashanti Regional Director of Agriculture, observed that persistent burning of by-products and waste affected production of groundnut in the area.

He, therefore, appealed to farmers to stop burning the waste and allow them to rot on the fields to enrich the soil.

Dr J.N. Asafu-Agyei, Director of the CRI, was not happy that despite training and research findings made available to farmers, most of them relied on old methods of production.

Dr Asafu-Agyei advised farmers to ensure that the techniques and skills acquired were put into practice.

Dr Rick L. Brandengburg, a representative of the Corolina State University of the USA, commended the farmers and the CRI for their efforts in improving production of groundnuts in the country.

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