The Soil Research Institute under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SRI) has organized a five day workshop for stakeholders to kick-start the implementation of the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) in the Northern Region.
The SAPIP project, being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, is aimed at transforming the agricultural value chain of the north to enhance food and nutrition security as well as job and wealth creation.
The five-year project is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a cost USD 40.38 million.
The workshop which commenced on Monday in Tamale, with the CSIR-SRI as the project’s implementing partner, was also to train the stakeholders on Digital Soil Mapping (DSM) and soil testing to improve on the soil system in the Savannah zone.
The stakeholders included the District and Regional Directors of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), research institutions, scientists, local government officials, representatives of agricultural input dealers among others.
Mr Felix Darimaani, the National Project Coordinator of SAPIP, said the project intends to increase agricultural productivity and diversification by enhancing an increase in yield and the income of actors along selected value chains of rice, maize, soyabeans and vegetables on a sustainable basis.
He said the project was also anchored on the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) policy with four(4) components which includes the five (5) pillars of PFJ which are crop productivity improvement component, value chain and agribusinesses development component, infrastructure development component and project coordination, management, monitoring and evaluation component.
Mr Darimaani urged the CSIR-SRI to work closely with the district department of agriculture to analyze the soil and identify the types of fertilizer suitable for various crop production for farmers at the local level in the north.
Dr Mohammed Moro Buri, a Director and Chief Research Scientist at the CSIR-SRI, said most of the soil in the Savanna zone were loosing their nutritional value through soil degradation and this is negatively affecting food production.
He said through CSIR-SRI studies and on farm trials, the Institute has come out with new fertilizer blends which could be used to nourish the soil and help support the PFJ campaign.
Dr Buri said the fertilizers were crop specific and type specific which could help improve crop yields to enhance food security and to improve the livelihood of farmers in the Savannah zone.
He called on all farmers to invest in the soil by adopting sustainable management practices such as responsible tillage of land, integrated soil management among others to improve on their crop production for sustainability.