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Regional News Sat, 1 Mar 2008

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Farmers adopt innovation to boost crop yield

Navrongo (UE/R), March 1, GNA - Farmers in parts of Upper East Region have adopted three new farming methods to bolster their crop yield through increased soil fertility and moisture. The three new methods are 'Tie Ridging', 'Micro Dosing' and 'Eco-farming,' which were introduced by the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute, based at Nyankpala, near Tamale, in collaboration with the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics in India.

At a farmers' forum in Navrongo, Dr Matthias Fosu, Coordinator of the project, said Tie Ridging involved ploughing across sloppy lands and making ridges at the edges to collect and retain rain water for a period, thereby maintaining the moisture in the soil for the benefit of the crops.

Micro-Dosing entails the use of small doses of fertilizer "at the right time in the appropriate way" for the maximum use of the crop, Dr Fosu said, adding that this method economizes the use of fertilizer but produces high results.

He said Eco-Farming involved growing leguminous and fruit trees on farmlands to improve soil fertility and provide food for animals while producing fruit for sale and consumption, in addition to fuel wood and leaves that would fertilize the soil.

He said farmers would have to prune the trees often so that they do not become too shady.

Dr Roger Kanton and Dr Saaka Buah, facilitators, said the project started three years ago with on-farm training of farmers, who were guided through the three methods.

During the discussions, owners of farms which were destroyed by floods last year appealed to the government to help them with seeds and fertilizer to enable them plant this year. The farmers appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to send out Agriculture Extension officers to create awareness and educate other farmers about the new methods.

Source: GNA

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