THE Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) has launched a project to boost groundnut production in the country.
With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the “Tropical Legume III” project is targeted at groundnut farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to help them increase their yields to ensure higher incomes.
It is being implemented by the SARI in collaboration with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as part of measures to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in drought-prone areas in Northern Ghana.
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Under the project, farmers would be provided with high-quality yielding seeds as well as technical and good agronomic practices to boost production.
According to nutritional experts, groundnuts are nutrient-dense and provide an essential complement to the starches derived from cereal and root crops. The nutritional value of groundnut is attributable to their high nutrient composition such as protein, complex carbohydrates, essential minerals and fatty acids as well as properties that promote nutrient absorption and also reduce gut inflammation.
At the launch of the project in Tamale, the Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, William Boakye Acheampong, said the project would help address the decline in groundnut production in the country.
He said groundnut was one of the important agricultural commodities due to its nutritional value.
A member of the research team on the project, Dr Richard Oteng-Frimpong, said the three main objectives of the project were to develop a sustainable seed system, ensure that farmers had access to improved groundnut varieties to enhance productivity and production and also address the gender gaps that existed in groundnut cultivation to reduce poverty and ensure food security for small-holder farmers.
The Director of SARI, Dr Stephen Nuttsugah, said the institute would continue to collaborate with the government and donor agencies to make its research findings and new technologies available to farmers to boost productivity to reduce poverty.