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Establish agricultural laboratories in rural districts

Professor Osei Agyeman Yeboah

Government has been urged to set up agricultural laboratories in rural districts to provide soil testing services to smallholder farmers.

Professor Osei-Agyeman Yeboah, Lecturer at the North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, who made the call, said the move would help improve farming and smallholder farmers access to recommendations on the best crops for their soil and the best local fertiliser recipes for good harvests.

He gave the advice during USDA-NIFA Projects outreach event for farmers at Sanpebga in the Kumbungu District to showcase the best technologies to increase productivity, food security and nutritional health benefits in the Northern Region.

It was organised by CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute and supported by North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University and University of Maryland East Shore.

It was on feed harvesting, silage preparation, good livestock husbandry practices, commentary feeding, crop residue management, and compost preparation, and was conducted at the farm level to create awareness of integrated soil fertility management strategies, compost preparation, farm residue recycling, intercropping and improved varieties.

Professor Yeboah, who is also the Project Leader for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Project, said, “Soil is a critical part of thriving agriculture, which provides the necessary nutrients for crop growth. However, not all soils are suitable for growing crops.”

He said regular soil testing could help improve soil health, which was typically inaccessible and too expensive for smallholder farmers.

He stated that mostly the small farmers had limited access to correct information to remedy deficiencies leading to incorrect or insufficient agro-input use that adversely affected soil health, productivity, and local ecosystems.

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