Rice farmers in the Bono East Region have been given the hope of improving their income and livelihood by increasing productivity of rice. Low/poor rice yield has been reported as major and prioritized constraints through planning sessions of Research Extension Linkage Committee (RELC) of the Department of Agriculture (DoA) in the region. The constraint have made some farmers loose huge investment in rice farming and thus lost interest investing in the venture. Other complains from the farmers were unavailability of land and poor land preparation, inaccessibility of irrigation water, poor water management, lack of farm machinery and so on. To mitigate the low productivity of rice, the CSIR – Soil Research Institute (SRI) introduced SAWAH technology for lowland rice production, which is able increase rice yield from the current national average of 2.5 t/ha to 6.5 ton/ha. Pursuing its technology transfer agenda in the development of agriculture in Ghana, the SRI in collaboration with the RELC of DoA in the region organized a field day of a verification demonstration of the SAWAH technology for lowland rice production at Kwame Danso in the Sene West district. The event took place on December 18, 2020 where, about hundred farmers – mainly from the Sene West District, Crop Officers, Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs), District Development Officers, Opinion Leaders, media and members from the nearby community took part.
The objective was to introduce the SAWAH technology for participants to have a firsthand testimony of vegetative stages of rice development under SAWAH. Some of the farmers and crop officers were involved during the soil preparation and transplanting. The participants were shown the different components of the SAWAH technology; ranging from soil preparation (i.e. bunding, ploughing, tilling, puddling and levelling), water, nutrient and weed management and other good agronomic practices. These, if follow through, will provide suitable environment and nutrition for growth and development the rice plant to increase yield per unit area. The SRI team explained that the intervention will ensure that farmers don’t resort to farm large acreages but limit themselves to very small farm sizes while they achieve their optimum yields, allowing other farmers to have access to farming areas. The bund helps to retains water on the land which ensure water availability at critical stages of growth and the applied nutrients are also available in a right form for the plant uptake. The SRI team recommended application of new fertilizer blend (NPK 15:15:20 + Zinc) at basal (up to 5 days after transplanting) and Sulphate of Ammonia for the topdressing. Covering of the crops with net prevent predators from attacking the crops, good weed management and other farm sanitation were also recommended. The participating farmers were advised to form groups in order to have access to farm machinery which are readily available to them through extension officers from DoA, for their land preparation and harvesting, at subsidized price.
The intervention was geared towards increasing rice yields and enhancing livelihoods of rice farmers, which will also help the country to attain self-sufficiency in rice production and support the government’s agenda to reduce rice importation. The activity was financed by Government of Canada through the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Programme.
Project Team: Emmanuel Dugan (MAG Focal Person and Researcher); Moro Buri (Director, CSIR-SRI; Researcher); Ephraim Sekyi-Annan (Researcher); Nathaniel Biney (Technical Officer).
BY: Kwame Adjei Twum