In anticipation of the imminent arrival of the rainy season in northern Ghana any time from the month of May, the annual N2Africa planning meeting was held to develop implementation work plan for the forth-coming season. The meeting was held in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region, on 28-29 March 2011. A major issue of discussion during the meeting was how to effectively link farmers to market. Accordingly, the meeting had a large representation from non-governmental organisations and producer groups led by Catherine Phiri of ADVANCE, a USAID-funded project that facilitates linkages with various value chain actors to help them upgrade and expand their businesses. Also in attendance were representatives of Kharma Farms, Candell company, Savanna Seeds Company and IFDC (International Fertiliser Development Centre).
A key highlight of the meeting was the address by the Director of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), who reiterated the interest that Government, farmers and other stakeholders in Ghana have shown in N2Africa activities and the expectation for a resounding impact. He enjoined N2Africa to increase their visibility by scaling up activities and engaging the media.
Highlights of the results presented at the meeting showed that despite the late delivery of inputs, the various technologies promoted were well received by farmers. Additionally, the Satellite Farmer concept facilitated the scaling up of dissemination activities at minimal cost. Inoculation led to soybean yield increase of up to 36%, with average yields of about 2000 kg/ha compared to 1,300 kg/ha in non-inoculated plots.
Dissemination activities in Ghana this year are expected to reach at least 10,000 farmers in three regions and about 8 districts. A major challenge will be to deliver inputs timely, given the vast terrain that will be covered across the 3 regions in northern Ghana.