The maize component of the SARD-SC project has successfully introduced two improved short duration drought tolerant varieties of maize –Omankwa and Abontem- into the Nkoranza south municipality of Ghana. These two varieties are doing excellently well and are being commended by farmers for their early maturing nature and ability to withstand drought.
The SARD-SC project started full activities in the Nkoranza south municipality in 2013. A base line survey and community analyses were conducted in the municipality after which twenty –five mini-kit demonstrations were established(five in each of the five intervention communities).
Omankwa was the first short duration drought tolerant variety which was first introduced to beneficiary farmers for the mini-kit demonstration in 2013. Twenty five mini-kit demonstrations were established, that is five in each of the intervention community. Consequently, the farmers’ interest was further stimulated, resulting in an increase in the number of demos from five per community to ten. It resulted into a total of fifty demos in 2014.
It is worthy to mention that in 2014 an additional variety (Abontem) was also introduced together with Omankwa. Farmers saw the early maturing nature of these two varieties as well as their ability to withstand drought. Now these two varieties have become household names in maize cultivation and production not only in the Nkoranza south municipality but the entire Brong-Ahafo region which is accredited to SARD-SC project. The farmers commend the maize component for the success of the two maize varieties in their municipality. Farmers and maize farm lands are now less vulnerable to the harmful effect of climate change with the introduction of these two improved drought resistant varieties. Consequently, the farmers are now able to make more money from their farmlands.
However, farmers in other areas who saw the success of the two varieties and the increased income they have generated for farmers in demonstration plots have expressed interest in the two drought tolerant varieties. They came to the office of the Department of Agriculture to register their names at the on-set of the season to be considered for a kilogram of seeds to multiply and use on their own.
In 2014 for instance, two hundred and fifteen farmers came to register for consideration and currently, some have been able to multiply their seeds and able to cultivate 5-10 acres on their lands. In 2015, seven hundred and eighty (780) farmers were registered and supplied with one kilogram each of seed maize. It must also be noted that the number of mini-kits demos mentioned are the numbers planted and monitored by the Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) involved in the SARD-SC project.