Business News Fri, 14 Aug 2020

Agricultural extension remains critical in improving farm productivity - Report

Research conducted into the "Impact of Technology Adoption: Evidence from Maize and Cowpea Farmers in Northern Ghana" established that agricultural extension remains key to improving farm productivity.

According to the studies, expanding easy access to extension services and monitoring of farmer's production activities are highly recommended.

It also recommended the involvement of more stakeholders in the agricultural sector to provide credit and input support to farmers.

That, the report said, would go a long way to help farmers to continue implementing the technologies on the farms.

Mr Emmanuel T. Jumpah, Research Technologist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI) announced this at Africa Rising Project validation workshop in Accra.

The workshop aimed at gathering more inputs into the study report and share widely the findings and recommendations of the report for greater policy and institutional support at various levels - District, Regional, and National level.

The CSIR-STEPRI has been in collaboration with the Africa Rising Project since 2017 in the area of analysing policies that impact smallholder farmers.

The Africa Rising Project is being implemented in West Africa and East Africa to generate and disseminate technologies for the adoption by smallholder farmers for improved livelihoods

In Ghana, the project targets smallholder farmers in northern Ghana engaged in crop ( Maize and Cowpea) and Livestock(small ruminants) production.

STEPRI is currently in collaboration to deliver activities on the impact of technology adoption, drivers of adoption, potential net gains, and net losses associated with various technologies.

The technologies of focus for the current analysis are maize-cowpea intercropping, cowpea living mulch, maize leaf stripping, and rates of fertilizer application.

Mr Jumpah said the main objective is to analyse the potential gains and losses in net farm returns, per capita incomes, and poverty rates of farms that adopt the sustainable intensification technologies/practices to inform policy decisions and private entrepreneurs which sustainable intensification technologies to promote for greater impact.

He said the intervention had achieved some positive outcomes and working to consolidate and sustain the gains is imperative.

"We also recommended that efforts should be made to incorporate more females in subsequent interventions/phases of the project," he said.

He said there was a perceived improvement in productivity, income, agricultural production practices but not gender equity and social cohesion.

He announced that throughout the study lack of financial resources remained the most critical challenge confronting smallholder farmers' adoption of the technologies.

Dr Wilhelmina Quaye, Director of CSIR-STEPRI, said the Council is into various research programmes to inform policies as well as help smallholder farmers to increase yields and productivity.

She said they have experienced researchers who are versed in other disciplines and are ready to collaborate with other institutions or organisations to develop competitive research proposals.

She said one of their mandates is to bridge the gap between the private sector and researchers, adding that their doors are opened for any collaboration in that direction.

"Our research approaches are centred with people, engaging people from all disciplines and we ensure that whatever we churn out as research outcomes are impactful."

Dr Quaye said: "When you take our crop sector, for example, and you look at the current yield level is nowhere close to the achievable and that is why we called you here to further interrogate why we're not achieving the goals".

Researchers, academicians, policymakers, farmers, officials from the private sector, the media, and government ministries attended the meeting.
Source: GNA
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