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Garu-Tempane farmers introduced to new varieties of crops
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Farmers from the Garu-Tempane District in the Upper East Region, were on Wednesday introduced to new varieties of maize, sorghum and Sesame.

The Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) in collaboration with Centre for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR), organised the event at an on-station field day for the farmers at the SARI Station at Manga near Bawku in the Upper East.

The more than 40 farmers were taken round maize, sesame and sorghum experimental farms and taught them how to apply fertilizer, space crops (during planting) and different methods of planting.

Dr. Roger Kanton, Senior Research Person in charge of SARI, noted that about 30 different varieties of maize that had proved to be fast maturing and draught resistant were on trial and would be given to some farmers to cultivate next farming season.

He said that because the rain pattern had changed and unpredictable, SARI was focusing on coming up with fast maturing crops that could withstand draught.

Dr Kanton said the new varieties of maize had matured in 60 days and ready for harvesting but the leaves were still green; indicating that it could withstand a dry spell for long.

The farmers were introduced to the Akpasoe maize variety which has high protein content, high yielding sorghum varieties, Capala and Dorado.

Dr. Kanton assured the farmers that they would be given improved seeds of the sorghum that did not attract many insects and pests.

He also told them that they could produce as much as it was possible because the Guinness Brewery Company had promised to buy locally produced sorghum.

On the sesame crop, which was being grown on small scale for household consumption, Dr. Kanton said a big market for the crop had been created abroad and SARI was planning to multiply the seed so that farmers could grow it in large quantities.

Mr. Solomon Tiiga, Director of the Presbyterian Agriculture Station at Garu, led the farmers round the farms.

He noted that it usually took a long time for farmers to adopt new crop varieties because of fear of failure and change and assured them that they would not be disappointed if they adopted the new varieties.

Mr. Tiiga also assured the farmers that the Agriculture Agric Extension Station would support and link them with SARI for further clarifications.

Mr. Louis Kombat, on behalf of the farmers, said they would try the new varieties next farming season.

He said participants at the field day represented large farmers groups, and were expected to disseminate the knowledge acquire to their colleagues.

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