Agriculture Research Program to Boost Farmers’ Income, Crop Yields

Agriculture Research Program to Boost Farmers’ Income, Crop Yields

Farmers in 20 African countries will soon benefit from an agricultural initiative that will double their incomes and increase yields of four crops including corn, cassava, wheat and rice by 20 percent, Spy Ghana reported.

Support for Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC) — funded by a $63 million allocation from the World Bank — strives to discover ideal locations, technology practices and research methods that will produce the best crops.

“It involves lots of scholarships or training on issues of production, processing, as well as gender issues. Focus on four components of the project is research, technology generation (extension, technology dissemination), capacity building and infrastructural development and management of the project,”  Dr. Chrysantus Akem, SARD-SC project coordinator said in the report.

Stretching over a time period of five years — to reach completion in 2016 — the project is being carried out at three Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR).

According to Spy Ghana: the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), also the project’s main center, will oversee corn and cassava research; Cote d’Ivoire-based Africa Rice will handle rice research; and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area will conduct wheat studies.

The International Food Policy Research Institute will act as a governing force lending “policy guidance” and cooperative resources, the report said.

“Every year we collect new varieties from the different research institutions and test them on farms for adaption. The varieties that are being developed looks at how these crops adapt to different ecologies in different countries and how yields can increase,” Dr. Akem added.

Stakeholders including policy makers, farmers, researchers and marketers will provide feedback and input as the project continues to help identify and solve problems.

“This helps for easy adoption of the technology because we engage the end users right at the beginning of the project to come out with technologies that can adopt to their conditions,” Akem said.

The project is expected to more efficiently track yearly agricultural progress, increase productivity and better sustain the commercial chain value of corn, wheat, cassava and rice, Spy Ghana reported.