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Ten communities benefit from innovation platform

February 1, 2014

Sang (N/R), Jan. 31 , GNA-Ten communities from two districts in the Northern Region are to benefit from an innovation platform which seeks to create synergy between maize value chain actors, guide technology uptake and improve marketing of the crop. The initiative is under the Support of the Agriculture Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC) project and endorsed by African Heads of States which also has an objective of enhancing maize yield by at least 20 per cent and also increases house hold income by 50 per cent. Mr Dan Wudinayi Makandan, Mion District Chief Executive who launched the project on Thursday at Sang, appealed to farmers to embrace modern farming technologies which the project would present. The SARD-SC, funded by the African Development Bank , is a five-year project dealing with four commodities namely; cassava, maize, rice and wheat, which four countries comprising Nigeria , Mali , Zambia and Ghana are concentrating on. It is being implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) with local partners including the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), Crop Research Institute (CRI), Input Dealers, Private Seed Companies and non-governmental organizations. Mr Makandan advised beneficiary farmers to take advantage of the activities of the project, which included farmer problem diagnose, on-farm demonstration, the diversification of maize to improve yield to support the nation's quest to be food secured. "Farming is the only economic activity in this district, so this project presents us the opportunity to improve upon our work and make it more productive to address the challenge of poverty and malnutrition," he said. Dr Chrys Akem , SARD-SC Project Coordinator, explained that the project would build on similar initiatives and harmonize actors to find lasting solutions to the many challenges hindering maize high yield. He said the platform would discuss the effect of climate change on maize production and get suggestion such as either to switch to cultivating drought resistant maize to help increase yield or generating a local farming technology. "To solve the problem of vitamin A deficiency, the platform can decide to start cultivating the yellow maize, which addresses that deficit", he said. He said through the synergy, the platform could brainstorm to develop local agriculture technologies, share ideas on new methods of agriculture conservation such as using straws and other materials to make composite manure thereby reducing the use of chemical fertilizer. Dr Wilson Dogbe , a Research Scientist at SARI, said agriculture remained weak and uncompetitive in the country due to low-adaptation of improved technologies that are essential to increase productivity and profitability. He said constraints included weak linkages and interaction between players in the industry, high cost of technology and declining soil fertility had resulted in low productivity. Dr Dogbe expressed the hope that the project, with its broad base approach, would help find answers to the declining rate of maize yield in the region. GNA

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Source: Ghana News Agency

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