Soyabean farmers at Kpanshegu laud Sustainable Soyabean production in Northern Ghana Project

Women farmers at Kpanshegu in the North East Gonja District of the Savannah Region have lauded the Sustainable Soyabean Production in Northern Ghana (SSPiNG) project and pledged to adopt best production practices. The women, who farm soyabean in the community, learnt recent technologies in soyabean planting including good agronomic practices to improve their yields. This was after they were taken through a demonstration on some soyabean yield-enhancing technologies and techniques including inoculant and New YaraLegume fertilizer applications among others, which showed high yields of soyabean as compared to the same piece of land, where the farmers employed their traditional way of cropping. The SSPiNG project is being implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in partnership with Yara Ghana Limited, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), FKRA in Norway and Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. It is aimed at building the capacities of farmers to enable the m to adopt the new strategies by ensuring proper site selection, adequate land preparation, the use of certified seeds and climate-smart varieties and employing good sowing techniques among other good agronomic practices. At a community durbar at Kpanshegu to engage with soyabean farmers on the new techniques acquired during field demonstration and field day organised using the demonstration fields, Madam Adamu Abdulai, a farmer, said, ''This initiative is an eye opener, and we welcome it wholeheartedly. In fact, it has given us a clue on how to do proper planting.'' She said, 'While we hope that this project continues to educate other farmers, we want to assure all stakeholders that we are adopting these new techniques henceforth with keen interest in following all the instructions given us by the officers.' Madam Hawawu Iddrisu, another farmer, attested that there was vast difference between the yields recorded. She said ''The difference is clear, though we used the same seeds and fertilizer while we we re sowing at wider spacing, and putting five to six soyabean seeds in one hole as our own practice, they were putting two seeds in one hole with little space from one hole to another, and this has shown why the same small piece of land that was producing one bag of soyabean grains would now produce two or more.' Madam Hawa Musah, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, who represented the Savannah Regional Director of Agriculture during the event, said soyabean was a cash crop that could strengthen farmers' financial capacity. However, she indicated, the failure of farmers to embrace innovative technologies and improved agronomic practices was depriving them of high yields. She said government was ready to assist farmers, who had registered and measured their farms with inputs, seeds, and fertilizer to improve yields, and advised the farmers to adopt innovative technologies, ensure early planting, depending on the regularisation of rainfall, use recommended inputs, and ensure timely application of input s and appropriate methods. Professor Samuel Adjei-Nsiah, Project Coordinator, SSPiNG, said the 'SSPiNG project, in the last farming season, assisted Boresa Investment Limited with grants to procure a multipurpose thresher at a subsidised cost to thresh their soyabean to obtain quality grains that attracted higher prices. He said 'We realise that most farmers thresh their soyabeans using manpower, which puts a lot of stress on them resulting in poor quality grains, and also, the farmers have problem with planting soyabean because they use their own labour to plant and as a result record low yields but remember soyabean is about numbers - the more plants you have in your field, the higher the yield.' Professor Adjei-Nsiah said women farmer groups, aggregators, and others since 2022 had been supported with 48 planters and 25 multipurpose threshers, respectively to help them in their production and encouraged farmers to expand to increase yields, income, and food security. Madam Rafiatu Iddisa, Chief Executiv e Officer of Boresa Investment Limited commended the SSPiNG project for the support, saying the new techniques learnt would go a long way to help improve their yields and appealed for more equipment for women to produce more soyabean grains. Mr Kudjoe Agbenyega, Chief Finance Officer, Yara Ghana Limited gave assurance of the company's support to smallholder farmers throughout the project and announced his outfit's donation of 300 bags of Yara Actyva fertilizer to farmers in the community. The Chief of Kpanshe, Kpanshewura F. A. Adam, also appealed to the SSPiNG project to extend their services to other communities saying ''We have the land and the women and so if you extend your services to other places, I will be very grateful because women are those, who keep the home and if they are empowered, the entire community will benefit.' Source: Ghana News Agency