Nyankpala (NR), Nov. 19, GNA - The Adventist Development and Research Agency on Wednesday launched two new varieties of soybean that have low pod shattering over the ones currently used by farmers.
Mr Samuel Asante-Mensah, Country Director of ADRA, who launched the varieties in the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute in Nyankpala in the Northern Region Region said, the varieties would be distributed among ADRA client farmers to cultivate in the 2005 planting season. The launch was on the theme: "Soy For Good Nutrition" and was also meant to honour some farmers, who over the years have devoted their time in cultivating the crop.
Over 60 farmers from the Upper East, Upper West and the Brong Ahafo regions, with some traditional rulers and elders from Nyankpala attended the launch, which is the first of its kind organised by ADRA. He said ADRA would also be facilitating the rapid diffusion of these new varieties and popularising them among farmers for fast rate of adoption to increase yields in the three northern regions.
The ADRA Director said though the crop could grow well in Ghana, lack of knowledge of its utilization in local food preparation and market for its produce was one major constraint facing farmers.
He said ADRA was supporting 4,000 farmers directly in the three northern regions in the cultivation of the crop and that over 1,000 other farmers in 344 communities have gained experience from ADRA farmers and were putting those experiences to good use.
The farmers, he said, produced 1,500 tonnes of soybean a year and appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Engineering department to adopt ways of fabricating small-scale planters and threshers to assist farmers to enable them to increase the number of acreage for mass production.
Mr Asante-Mensah said SARI and the Soy Bean Development Committee as well as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture could find ways of helping farmers on continuous basis to increase productivity.
He advised the farmers to also venture into groundnuts production, which, he said was gaining market in the sub-region indicating that due to low production in Ghana, buyers go as far as to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to buy.
Mr. Sylvester Adongo, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, said food security was very important in the country's economic development and called on farmers not to give up since their efforts were helping the country.
He said farmers in the three northern regions remained the poorest in the country and advised them to persevere and increase their efforts so that the situation does not go out of hand.
Mr Adongo observed that the advent of soybean and its new method of farming have improved the lives of many farmers in the regions and called on others to emulate them.
Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, Northern Regional Director, SARI said poverty was the persistent feature of the north and appealed to farmers, particularly the youth to engage in farming to salvage the economy in the north.
Mr. Ernest Debrah, Northern Regional Minister, in a speech read for him called for constant collaboration between stakeholders in the region, aimed at working towards eliminating poverty.
Four farmers from the Nadoli, Savelugu/Nanton, Saboba/Cheriponi and Bwaku East Districts were presented with a bicycle each for their untiring efforts in soybean production in their respective areas of operation. Nov. 20 04