GHANA – The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) has taken a proactive role in elevating the skills of community groundnut seed producers as part of a broader strategy to ensure the production of high-quality groundnut seeds.

A recent training program, focusing on empowering 60 women producers from two Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) groups in the Mion District of the Northern Region, covered various crucial aspects of groundnut seed production.

The comprehensive training delved into topics such as variety and site selection, good agronomic practices, seed certification standards, harvesting and drying techniques, aflatoxin management, seed storage, and marketing.

The initiative, designed to meet the demand for improved seeds in the district, aims to enhance knowledge on groundnut seed production for improved yield.

Participants were also connected to seed companies as potential out-growers and encouraged to utilize their group’s savings to purchase and loan foundation seeds in the upcoming production season.

This capacity-building exercise not only responds to the immediate needs of local communities but also aligns with the broader goals of agricultural development, contributing significantly to food security and economic growth in the region.

Dr. Osman Alhassan, a lead researcher at CSIR-SARI, emphasized the significance of this initiative, stating, “Empowering local producers with knowledge and resources is instrumental in building a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in the Northern Region.”

Last year, CSIR-SARI embarked on another impactful project, focusing on the cultivation of Bambara groundnut.

The initiative, titled “Promoting Bambara Groundnut Production, Adopting and Utilisation for Food Security and Increased Income for Small Holder Farmers,” is a three-year venture funded by the US-based NGO, Grow Further.

This project, launched in December 2023, aims to reach 80,000 farmers through participatory plant breeding, field innovations, and extension services.

The project’s objectives include conducting advanced yield trials of high-yielding bambara accessions, developing its population through hybridization based on gender-preferred traits, and releasing improved varieties of this resilient and nutritionally valuable crop.

Bambara groundnut, which has been under-cultivated in Ghana, is expected to become a viable income-generating source for farmers, addressing both food nutrition and security needs.

Dr. Raphael Adu-Acheampong, Director of CSIR-SARI, emphasized the global potential of this initiative, saying, “Bambara groundnut holds significant value for processing into oil and milk in other countries, presenting an exciting opportunity for Ghana to tap into the international export market.”

The project also aims to bridge the gap between farmers and extension officers through innovative platforms, with a particular focus on disease and pest tolerance, aligning seamlessly with the objectives of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The Ministry expressed its alignment with the project objectives, underlining its commitment to food security and readiness to collaborate with CSIR-SARI to achieve the best possible outcomes.

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