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Agric officers train in Frafra Potato production in U/East

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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) partnered with Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) of the University of Ghana, to disseminate research findings and a climate smart agriculture innovation for large scale Frafra Potato production to farmers in a training workshop, organized in Manga Station of CSIR-SARI.

The two-day training dubbed: “Dissemination of Proven Technologies for Large-scale Production of Frafra potato in the Upper East Region” brought together about (40) Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs), from the fifteen (15) Municipalities and District Assemblies in the Upper East Region.

The two-day training workshop was organized with funds received by ACCAI network from the Open Society Foundation in 2015.

The network which is coordinated by Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, Centre for African Wetlands, University of Ghana, Legon is made up of five universities [University of Ghana, Mekelle University (Ethiopia) and University of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and University of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University (South Africa)] conducting research under five thematic areas – Reigniting interest in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for food security in Africa, Urban-rural food system dynamics in the face of climate change, Soil fertility management and farming systems, Nutrition and technology for food systems in Africa and Climate change resource conflict and food systems.

The aim of the workshop was to train the AEAs to further disseminate the innovation and proven technologies for large scale production of Frafra Potato to farmers across the Upper East Region.

The new technology which is a cutting propagation method (a climate smart adaptation strategy), would allow for the rapid establishment and expansion of Frafra potato fields across the region.

In 2017, the Manga Station of CSIR-SARI developed five newly improved Frafra potato varieties which were approved and released by National Seed Council as (UE021- WAAPP Piesa 1 ‘WAAPP Frafra potato’, UE023- Manga-Moya ‘Well done Manga station’, UW020- Maa-Lana ‘I can’t believe how far I have made it’, UW022- Naachem-Tiir ‘Hope for the youth’, ACC01022- Nutsugah Piesa ‘Nutsugah’s Frafra potato’).

With the released varieties, farmers can reap maximum output with little input. Speaking to Radio Ghana, Dr. Francis Kusi, a Host plant Resistant Entomologist and Senior Research Scientist at the Manga Research Station indicated that, the five varieties are the first Frafra potato varieties to be released in Africa.

Dr. Francis Kusi,

Taking the Agriculture Extension Agents through the economic analysis of the crop, Dr. Kusi stressed that farmers in the Upper East and West Regions of Ghana can really make a good fortune out of the cultivation of the crop.

Dr. Naalamle Amissah a Horticulturist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana, presented research carried out by the University of Ghana under the ACCAI “Reigniting interest in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for food security in Africa” thematic area, which she leads.

Dr. Naalamle Amissah a Horticulturist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana

Dr. Amissah emphasized the need for nutritious food in achieving food security and spoke about the role of underutilized crop species in attaining food and nutrition security in Ghana and their ability to support Sustainable Development Goals 1,2, 3, 8 and 15.

The research carried out by CSIR-SARI and ACCAI-UG addressed the importance of adding value to Frafra potato and creating awareness about its high iron content.

She stated that, Frafra Potato has the added advantage of tolerating drought conditions and thriving on marginal soils, one of the key problems confronting farmers in Northern Ghana.

Dr. Amissah also spoke about the importance of crop species diversity and the need for other indigenous crops with potential for achieving food security to be researched into.

Fulbright Scholar to Ghana and Assistant Professor Dr. Denita Hadziabdic Guerry of the University of Tennessee, a Population Genetics expert talked about her collaboration with Dr. Amissah and Dr. Kusi.

Professor Dr. Denita Hadziabdic Guerry of the University of Tennessee, a Population Genetics expert

Her research under the Fulbright Scholar Programme will assess the genetic diversity and spatial structure of the Frafra potato across different geographical regions and identify the best varieties to be used in future breeding projects.

The workshop was very interactive with the AEA’s sharing farmers’ experiences on Frafra Potato cultivation in their respective Districts.

The AEA’s commended the organizers for the hands-on nature of the workshop and promised to share the technologies learned with farmers.

Story filed by Emmanuel Akayeti

 

 

 

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