Bono Regional Directorate of Agriculture and consultant, Mr. Isaac Adjei-Mensah has led his team to launch a project where farmers in various municipalities will receive timely information about farming practices and disease control measures to improve yields.
A total of 61,428 farmers have been estimated as beneficiaries of the Community Information Centres (CICs) project for improved maize productivity and reduction of yield losses, according to a report.
Ghana News Agency reports that the breakdown of the beneficiary farmers and their corresponding Municipalities and Districts as Berekum, Nkoranza South, Sunyani, Wenchi and Sunyani West is 3,320, 8,490, 2,625, 21,000 and 6,700 respectively
The report added the rest were Dormaa East, 4,200, Kintampo South 3,900, Nkoranza North 3,500, Tain, 4,570 and Techiman North 3,123.
The project operationally used the CICs to disseminate pest and agronomy information timely to maize farmers in those selected municipalities and districts for the 2021 cropping season, it said.
The report indicated farmers were equipped with the requisite knowledge to take the right and timely crop management actions for improved yields.
The piloted project funded by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), it said, started in June and ended in September 2021 and was expected to reach the farmers through 100 CICs by the end of the 2021 cropping season.
Under the campaign, the report said 35 agronomy messages on various stages of the maize production cycle and 12 to 16 alerts for two pest infections – Fall Army Worm (FAW) and stalk borer were disseminated to the farmers.
It said some of the agronomy information benefited by the farmers were land preparation for the minor season, minimum tillage over conventional method (slash and burn) and use of certified seeds.
The rest were hybrid seeds preference to farmer seed, row planting, farm sanitation (weed control), chemical method (selective weedicides), manual method, timely-harvesting and post-harvest management.
The report explained the farmers were educated on pest alert which looked at scouting for signs and symptoms for FAW and stalks borer, feeding behavior of FAW, feeding behavior of stalk borer, early detection and control of FAW, when necessary to control FAW, cultural control methods of FAW and stalk borer, chemical control of FAW and correct use of agro-chemicals.
It cited some challenges encountered by the project’s implementation were power outages in some communities which affected the effective dissemination of information by the CICs and difficulties in sending information using an electronic approach because most of the CIC operators did not have smartphones.