New and improved vegetable varieties have been introduced to smallholder farmer groups in Ghana’s Upper East Region to help address challenges associated with vegetable production and raise output.
It includes; 14 tomato and 11 pepper varieties, which are being introduced to the farmers in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality, while additional nine onion varieties were introduced in the Bawku Municipality.
Their introduction is part of the Ghana Agricultural Technology Evaluation (GATE) project being implemented by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)in partnership with the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana.
The first phase of the project, which started in 2019 and is expected to end in 2021, is jointly funded by AATF and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). Announcement of the varieties was made at a demonstration farm in Koronia in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality to introduce the new improved varieties to the commercial and smallholder farmers.
Dr Leander Melomey, the Project Officer, GATE project, said at the event the motive was to provide opportunities for farmers to increase yields while maintaining high quality. Dr Melomey, who is also a Research Fellow at WACCI, indicated that the varieties were introduced in collaboration with some selected seed companies, which he named as; Syngenta, RMG, Dizengoff, Agriseed, East-West and Rijk Zwaan.
According to ghananewsagency.org, Gideon Owirwdu, the Kassena-Nankana Municipal Director of the Department of Agriculture, said production of vegetables especially tomatoes had fallen due to low demand. He said the major buyers of tomatoes in the area complained of poor quality and short shelf life and preferred to buy from Burkina Faso.
The vegetables, which were transplanted in November, 2019, were almost matured, certifying that the varieties were of good quality. He encouraged the farmers to adopt the new varieties and adhere strictly to agronomic practices to increase yields and meet market demand.