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Crop rotation technology to aid Ghana's farmers

A technology able to address declining soil fertility in food production has been made available to smallholder farmers in Ghana

Introduced by the Soil Research Institute (SRI), part of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a number of Ghanaian farmers have already started working the cassava-cowpea strip intercropping system.

To date, more than 15,000 farmers in the country have been accessing the strip inter-cropping and rotation technology, which sees two or more crops grown simultaneously in different strips to increase productivity and enhance soil health.

“All together, by the third year, we’re looking at 50,000 farmers to be exposed to this technology and we want it to be sustained,” said SRI project manager Dr Edward Yeboah.

Yields of Ghana’s dominant crop, cassava, have been decreasing in recent years and have been as low as five tonnes per ha in some areas, while cowpea yields have been as low as 0.8 tonnes per ha.

Yeboah explained, “You can have three seasons of cowpea until the cassava is fully matured for 12 months and you harvest and then rotate.

“With this integrated soil fertility management option that we’re promoting, you can move the cowpea to as high as 2.4 tonnes per ha and you can also have the cassava in the range of 40-50 tonnes per ha.”