Sasakawa and maize production increases in Ghana
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CTA. 1996. Sasakawa and maize production increases in Ghana. Spore 66. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47489
Farmers in Ghana are producing twice as much maize as they did in 1986 and the price many of them get for their crop hasrisen by nearly 60%. This progress is the result of the adoption of techniques introduced by Sasakawa-Global 2000. Ghanawas the...
Farmers in Ghana are producing twice as much maize as they did in 1986 and the price many of them get for their crop has risen by nearly 60%. This progress is the result of the adoption of techniques introduced by Sasakawa-Global 2000. Ghana was the first country to receive help from SG 2000, which later extended its work to Tanzania, Benin, Togo, northern Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mozambique. Last year Uganda, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso were included in its programme. According to Sasakawa's Chris Dowswell, farmers in Ghana could have higher crop yields if they had access to fertilizers. Although proven on demonstration plots with high inputs of fertilizer, higher prices and lack of availability now make it difficult for most farmers to buy fertilizer. This has, however, not stopped farmers from planting seed of higher-yielding varieties such as the highly nutritious quality protein maize (QPM) variety, Obatanpa. Farmers have also improved planting densities and carry out more timely cultivations. In addition, SG 2000 has helped farmers to improve their storage facilities, so that grain can be kept after harvest and sold when prices rise, which earns them 60% better prices. To improve soil fertility and to offset the lack of fertilizer, SG 2000 is developing organic methods such as the use of green crops. In Benin, farmers are successfully rotating velvet bean (Mucuna puriens) with maize, which can add up to 30kg of nitrogen per hectare but there is still a need for other nutrients like phosphates. Farmers in Ghana and Togo are also beginning to use mucuna and SG 2000 is looking for equivalent legumes suitable for use in East and Central Africa. Sasakawa is also conscious that as farmers would be unable to maintain the new cropping methods because they lack sufficient funds to buy the necessary inputs once the programme withdraws, SG 2000 is helping to establish savings groups. With advice from the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, farmers in Benin have now established 40 CREPs (Caisse Rurale d'Epargne et Pret or Rural Savings and Loans Associations), each association started by farmers donating 200kg of maize as their first deposit. The scheme has proved so successful that funds have grown to a total of $600,000 which is available for low interest loans. Now farmers are taking out loans not only to buy inputs but also to buy equipment to start processing raw materials into higher value products. Some loans are also being used to start poultry-keeping and other income-generating schemes. SG 2000 Country Director BP 04 1091 Cadjehoun Cotonou, BENIN SG 2000 Country Director PMB Kotoka International Airport Accra, GHANA Director for Programme Coordination, SAA CIMMYT Lisboa 27, PO Box 6-641 00600 MEXICO DF