Animal Traction, best for the Northern soil - Research Scientist

Animal traction has been identified as the ideal method of tilling land for farming in the three Northern Regions. Dr. Roger Kanton, a senior Agriculture Research Scientist in charge of the Savanna Research Institute (SARI) at Manga, stated that bullocks and donkeys were more suited for ploughing farm lands in most parts of the Northern regions because the soils were too light and poor for heavy machinery like tractors. He noted that while tractors could be used for commercial farming that involves large tracts of land, it would rather destroy the poor light soils that most small scale farmers cultivated for sustenance. Dr. Kanton said this when he took farmers on a field day trip around demonstration farms at the Manga Agriculture Research Station near Bawku to introduce them to various improved varieties of sorghum, maize, cowpea and sesame. The Research Institute Studies various crop varieties and works to get improved varieties that would thrive in the changing environment and also studies the soils to see what type of crops to grow at certain areas and what could be done to improve the soil. He noted that the soils in most parts of the three Northern regions that SARI covered were very poor and needed tender care to be able to sustain plant growth. He said SARI had been teaching the farmers the right use of fertilizer and the minimal quantity that could be used to attain good results adding: "They were also being encouraged to make compost and use organic manure that would help restore the fertility of soil". Dr. Kanton said Water Conservation on farms was also being advocated to enable the soils retain some moisture for a long time when there were dry spells. The Research Station is presently testing and demonstrating to farmers, best ways of sowing, spacing and fertilizer application. It is also show casing different varieties of crops that can withstand long dry spells and those that mature fast so as to escape draught or provide food in a short period of time. Dr. Kanton said the farmers would be given maize, sorghum and early maturing cowpea and rice seeds, which are draught resistant to try next farming season.