Farmers in the West Gonja District have expressed gratitude to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) for introducing a new hybrid maize variety which the farmers said was a novelty likely to improve their income.
Mr. Abukari Joe Zakaria, a farmer who has bought into the new initiative being implemented in SADA operational areas, said the introduction of the new concept would make farming more interesting and rewarding.
Mr. Zakaria said this on Thursday at Damango during an inspection of some farming sites by a team from SADA to see progress of work and to hear from farmers implementing the new concept challenges facing them.
Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi, the Chief Executive Officer of SADA, expressed satisfaction about the greener nature of most of the farms which he said denoted high yielding crops.
He said the new variety was most likely to increase yields from the current 1.9 tons per hectare to 5.0 tons per hectare and the project was most likely to meet its target and would consider expanding it to include more farmers.
Throwing more light on the new project, he said at the beginning of this year's farming season, seeds of the hybrid maize were provided to farmers to cultivate 16,000 hectares of farm lands as a pilot project. Ploughing, fertilizers and technical services were equally provided aimed at increasing maize production.
Alhaji Iddi said the investments made in the farms would be deducted from the farmers after harvest, but ploughing and technical services were provided free of charge.
He said some of the teething issues such as the short supply of ammonia fertilizer, late supply of inputs and other logistical concerns would be addressed in the subsequent years, warning that service providers who fall short of the project's expectations will be dropped.
Mr. Issahaku Shaibu Alhassan, the West Gonja District Director of MOFA said the hybrid maize seed also known as 'Pana 53', was brought into the country from South Africa.
He said farmers needed to apply an average of seven bags of fertilizer per acre and at harvest they could make between 25-30 bags of maize per acre compared to the traditional maize varieties in the country where farmers make 10-15 bags.
Mr. Alhassan appealed to SADA to continue implementing such positive crop varieties for farmers to offset their poverty and urged more farmers to embrace the concept.