The Savanah Agriculture Research Institute of the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSRI-SARI), has introduced high yielding groundnut varieties to farmers in the Pusiga District of the Upper East Region.
The groundnut varieties, SARINUT 1 and SARINUT 2, developed by CSIR-SARI and its partners were released in 2019.
“These varieties are high yielding and tolerant to early and late leaf spot diseases, important diseases of groundnut that can cause up to 90% yield loss in some places. SARINUT 2 is particularly recommended for the Upper East Region because it matures within 90 days after sowing”.
Dr Richard Oteng-Frimpong, a crop breeder at the CSIR-SARI, said this when he inspected some of the groundnut farms at Boabula in the Pusiga District.
He said the new varieties would mitigate losses caused by evolving climate patterns, pests, and disease complexes.
“These varieties are being delivered through building partnerships and linkages among stakeholders and a robust framework to facilitate smallholder farmers’ access to high-quality seeds with a high commitment to gender equity as a guiding principle”, he added.
The crop breeder explained that the project went into partnership with farmers who expressed an interest in the new varieties, to help them multiply the seeds at the local level, to make the seeds of the new varieties readily available to farmers within their communities.
He said the average groundnut yield on farmers’ fields in the Upper East Region was below 0.5 tonnes per hectare which was far below the national average of about 1.3 tonnes per hectare.
Dr Oteng-Frimpong attributed the poor harvest to the use of low yielding varieties which were usually susceptible to groundnut diseases.
According to him, CSIR-SARI was implementing the Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) project with its partners, to adopt modern best practices to deliver a continuous stream of improved groundnut varieties for smallholders to achieve improved nutrition, greater yields, higher incomes and improved livelihoods.
He said the visit to the farms followed a training of trainers’ workshop on groundnut seed production organized by CSIR-SARI for Agricultural Extension Agents, field technicians of NGOs, Seed companies, and leaders of some FBOs in March 2020.
A Research Scientist, Dr Doris K. Puozaa, working on Seed Science and Systems Development at CSIR-SARI, said the approach was expected to contribute to the vision of the institute of getting seeds of new improved varieties to farmers and also support the government’s efforts to increase crop production through programmes like the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
The Pusiga District Director of the Department of Agriculture, Mr Mohamudu Iddi who supervised the field day, commended the community groundnut seed growers for the good work done and urged other farmers to adopt the new technologies being introduced to them to increase groundnut production, which he said was on the decline in the district.
He thanked Dr Francis Kusi, the Upper East Regional Coordinator of the two projects for extending the project’s activities to farmers in Pusiga District.