Farmers benefiting from government’s flagship programme of Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) have been called to use high yielding plant varieties in order to maximise yield and boost the agriculture sector.
Mr Dangana Mahama, the Babile Agricultural Station Manager in-charge of crops, made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Babile over the weekend.
He said cashew, for instance, was introduced into the country in the 1960s, but that variety was not of high quality, so there is the need for farmers to careful and acquire cashew seedlings from approved sources.
Mr Mahama said in line with the PERD programme, the Babile Agricultural Station is producing cashew seedlings for the various Municipal and District Assemblies in the Upper West Region.
He said it was the intention to grow 120,000 cashew seedlings for farmers in 2019, but they were only able to nurse 35,000 as a result of inadequate staff coupled with financial constraints.
Mr Mahama said they had to employ the services of grafters from Wenchi Agricultural Station to help graft the cashew seedlings to be supplied to some of the Municipal and District Assemblies in the region.
Mr Mahama expressed the hope that the station would increase the seedling production in next planting season to meet their target.
“If we don’t take care and continue importing seeds from other countries, what will happen is that a diseased plant from somewhere is likely to come into the country”, Mr Mahama said.
He said the Babile Agric Station has been mandated to produce new varieties of crops such as sweet potato, maize and cassava that were high yielding and resistant to harsh climatic conditions.
“The rains are now running down so if you take a crop that will need more than four months to mature, the farmer is likely to fail”, he said.
Mr Mahama said farmers needed breeders to come up with maturing crop varieties so that even with erratic rainfall patterns, farmers would still get something against food security”.