Business News Mon, 29 Jan 2018

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Bawku farmers adopt new irrigation technology

Dry season farmers in the Upper East Region have now adopted the 'drip and sprinkle' irrigation system for an effective all year round farming.

They have therefore shifted away from the water pump type of irrigation which needed enough manpower and huge investment.

The new irrigation technologies were designed by the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) under the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to make agriculture attractive.

TV3’s regional correspondent, Tanko Mohammed Rabiu reports that the poor rainfall pattern in the northern part of Ghana is generally affecting farming activities, reducing food production, especially in the Upper East region.

Farmers in the region, especially those into vegetables, have all shifted to dry season farming. But about 98% of the dry season farmers, according to the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute, are still using the outmoded way of irrigating crops using water pump and irrigation cans.

Due to the lack of proper irrigation facilities in the region, production is low, with the country relying on tonnes of vegetables imported from neighbouring Burkina Faso.

It is to address this situation that the SARI introduced to farmers the new irrigation technologies called 'drip and sprinkle' irrigation to boost yields.

The startup capital for these technologies is GH¢6,000 and a farmer stands to gain about GH¢60,000 per acre in a season without wasting water and using less labour.

Most of the farmers who underwent training organised by SARI told TV3 the water pump type of irrigation has driven a lot of young people out of farming.

An onion farmer chief Bukari Issah lamented the development, noting “the labour of carrying water to water the crops is very hard”.

The Research Manager of the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute in Bawku, Dr Francis Kusi said the new irrigation technology project is aimed at targeting the youth to take advantage of government’s planting for food policy.

Dr Kusi calls on farmers and people eager to enter into agriculture to adopt these new technologies in order to maximize production.

An irrigation expert with SARI, Sampson Adombilla, challenged farmers to adopt the drip and the sprinkle irrigation systems, noting that the region has enough water underground to support the system.

Source: 3 News

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