SRI-CSIR develops fertiliser for Cassava

The Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (SRI-CSIR), has successfully conducted trials on fertilisers that can be used for increased cassava starch yield and quality cassava.

Dr Joseph Cobbina, a Technical Specialist at the CSIR, made this known to farmers and M.Phil. students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) who undertook a field trip to the Kwadaso Agricultural College in Kumasi.

He said the research was still underway and that results were expected to be shared by all member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The research is under the auspices of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) and is being implemented in Ghana by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

DR Cobbina said WAAPP was being funded by the World Bank to strengthen research institutions in three countries — Ghana, Mali and Senegal — to generate improved technologies to increase agricultural productivity of important crops in line with regional priorities.

He said the aim of the project was to fund demand-driven technologies, generate and disseminate improved technologies in priority sectors of the region and facilitate regional collaboration and integration.

The field trip to the Kwadaso Agricultural College formed part of efforts to enhance the dissemination of increased cassava technologies, as well as to offer a platform to showcase the nature and efficiency of the new technologies for cassava.

Under the WAAPP project, Mali is conducting research into rice with Senegal researching into cereals, while Ghana focuses on improving root and tubers (cassava, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato).

Giving a background to the project, Dr Cobbina said in 2003, it was realised that although governments in West Africa were supposed to devote 10 per cent of their budgets to agriculture, that was not being done.

He said the WAAPP was then developed with a focus to improve the export competitiveness, biodiversity, land administration and management, technology diffusion, trade facilitation and market access.

He said in Ghana, although various varieties of cassava had been released by the CSIR, it was realised that lack of improvement in soil fertility, made it difficult for farmers to achieve the expected results.

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