Dr Jonas Osei-Adu, a Senior Research Scientist, Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), is advocating sustained long-term investment to transform maize production in the country.
“It is time to give the needed attention to all the stages in the maize production system to help create jobs and wealth along the value chain,” he stated.
According to the Senior Research Scientist, about 35 per cent of maize produced in the country go waste annually because of issues related to storage, marketing, irrigational facilities, the timely release of inputs and poor road network.
“If we are able to reduce post-harvest losses to about 15 per cent then the country will be on its way to reaching an appreciable standard in maize production to enhance food security,” Dr Osei-Adu told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), in an interview.
This was on the sideline of a field trip to a demonstration maize farm at Woraso near Asante-Mampong in the Ashanti Region, cultivated under the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development (PAIRED) project.
The project is being sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through CORAF, an international non-profit association working to enhance prosperity, food and nutrition security in West and Central Africa.
The CSIR-CRI is implementing the project, which seeks to assist the beneficiary maize farmers to have access to improved and quality seeds, and also embrace good agronomic practices, including soil fertility management.
The project is intended to improve the maize production system through the Innovation Platform (IP) concept, bringing together all the actors working along the value chain.
The CSIR-CRI and SeedCo, a private seed company, are providing the eight maize varieties being cultivated under the project.
Dr Osei-Adu, the Project Coordinator for PAIRED, told the GNA that the maize varieties were carefully selected, given their quality and ability to withstand drought and the changing climatic conditions.
“We hope the farmers realize the benefits in using certified seeds produced by the experts instead of relying on the ones they are accustomed to in order to increase their yield substantially,” the Project Coordinator observed.
He said the project was being implemented in 12 communities in six districts, including Atebubu-Amantin, Asante-Mampong, Ejura-Sekyedumase, Sunyani, Wenchi, and Tano-South.
Dr Stephen Yeboah, a Research Scientist, CSIR-CRI, said the beneficiary farmers were being taught the acceptable ways of applying fertilizer, weed and pest control and other agronomic practices.
The Agronomist advised the farmers to embrace the techniques they were being exposed to, saying the experts were committed to assisting them to transform their farming practices for the better.
Mr Kwabena Osei, Chairman of the Woraso Innovation Platform, said the farming community was appreciative of the new technology and improved crop varieties provided to the members to help expand their businesses.