CSIR-SARI launches project to target 80,000 farmers growing Bambara, groundnuts

Economics Csir Sari Project
Economics Csir Sari Project

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) has launched a project to take up research geared at expanding Bambara Groundnut cultivation and to release improved varieties to foster food security.

The project is titled: “Promoting Bambara Groundnut Production, Adopting and Utilisation for Food Security and Increased Income for Small Holder Farmers.”

It is a three-year project funded by Grow Further, a US-based NGO, and targets reaching 80,000 farmers through participatory plant breeding approach, field innovations and extension services.

Its intervention areas are selected districts in the Nothern, Savannah, Upper East, and Upper West Regions.

The project would, among other activities, originate advanced yield trials of high yielding bambara accessions as well as develop its population through hybridisation based on gender preferred traits.

Dr Francis Kusi, Director, CSIR-SARI, speaking at the project launch at Nyankpala in the Northern Region, said bambara groundnut, usually referred to as bambara beans, was under-cultivated in Ghana and received no research funding despite its resilience and nutritious values.

He said the Grow Further Bambara Groundnut initiative was an effort to protect the crop, make it an income-generating source for farmers, and help solve food nutrition and security needs.

He noted that Bambara Groundnut was in high demand as it was being processed into oil and milk in other countries, and articulated hope that the project would affect its export.

Mr Alhassan Nuhu Jinbaani, Lead Principal Investigator for the Bambara Groundnut project, said the project had the objective of releasing improved varieties of the crop adding it would assist farmers to form platforms through, which enhanced technologies would be extended to improve productivity.

He said the project would employ innovative platforms to bridge the gap in the ratio of farmers to extension officers.

He stated that the release of improved varieties of the crop would focus on disease and pest tolerance adding the project considered the needs of end users.

Dr Peter Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of Grow Further, said the project promised to be participatory where farmers would be engaged in research to produce results that met the market needs.
He said the ability of Bambara Groundnut to withstand drought coupled with its high-rated nutrients gave it an advantage over other crops underscoring the essence of exploring the field.

Madam Rahamatu Issah, a representative of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the project objectives were in tandem with the food security aims of the Ministry, and affirmed commitment from the Ministry to partner CSIR-SARI to achieve maximum results.

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