Some farmers and agro-processors in the northern part of the country have embraced SARINUT 2, an improved groundnut variety for its early maturing and high yielding characteristics.
They said their living conditions had improved since they started cultivating SARINUT 2 as the high yields led to improved incomes and household nutrition through increased sales and consumption of the crop.
They shared their experiences in Tamale during the closeout workshop of the “Upscaling improved groundnut varieties through integrated seed systems for improving income and nutrition in dryland of Ghana and Mali (NWO-WOTRO groundnut)” project.
The closeout workshop, which was to take stock of achievements and challenges and share lessons learned during project implementation, was attended by a cross-section of the implementing partners and stakeholders within the groundnut value chain, including farmers, personnel from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, seed producers, aggregators, processors, and officials from the Ministry of Health.
The NWO-WOTRO Groundnut project was implemented from 2019 to 2022 by a consortium led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) with Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), Institute of Rural Economy (IER), Mali, Heritage Seeds, Ghana, and SAPROSA Seed Company, and Mali as members
The project sought to improve the groundnut seed systems for the upscaling of improved groundnut varieties for enhancing incomes and nutrition of men, women, and youth smallholder farmers in the dryland of Ghana and Mali.
Through the project, SARINUT 2 groundnut variety, (which is a high yielding, early maturing, disease tolerant with bold tan seeds and adapted to Sudan and Guinea Savanna Agroecologies) was demonstrated and promoted among farmers for cultivation.
Chief Bukari Issah, a farmer from Bawku in the Upper East Region, speaking during the workshop, said, “The major variety I am doing now is SARINUT 2. We were growing the old varieties, which was not helping us but when we moved to SARINUT 2, we have seen improvement; if you harvest one acre, you can get almost 24 bags, but other varieties will only give you less than four bags. So, SARINUT 2 is helping us. That is why I am using it.”
He said, “In the olden days, our forefathers started with groundnuts. You know groundnuts look like a beautiful lady; anybody who sees it is happy, but people decided to reject them when we were not getting yields. So, when this SARINUT 2 came to my community, people were harvesting, and they were happy. So, a lot of farmers in the area now go for SARINUT 2. So, as for SARINUT 2, we want all farmers at Bawku to cultivate it so that we can harvest more to feed the nation.”
Mr Mwinipuoba Simon, a farmer from Nadowli-Kaleo District in the Upper West Region, said “I have benefited a lot from SARINUT 2. The yield is high, and I will advise farmers to patronise SARINUT 2. I bought four sheep through it, which have increased to six.”
He said, “I used to farm other varieties, but SARINUT 2 is far better. When I farm one acre using SARINUT 2, I get three times the yield compared to what I get from other varieties. I now cultivate only SARINUT 2, because it is a good seed for farmers.”
Maria Johana Yuorpor, Chief Executive of Mara Foods, a processor of indigenous foods at Nandom in the Upper West Region, said, “I have been processing SARINUT 2 for the past two years and I will say that it is nutritious compared to others. Besides, it gives me a very high product yield and quality. It is tasty and delicious. It comes out very crispy and nice when I process it into peanut butter chips.”
She added that “The women farmers in my area whom I buy my raw groundnut from for processing like to cultivate it too. They say it matures early and it is resistant to diseases.”
Dr. Francis Kusi, Director of CSIR-SARI, described the project as one of the very successful projects implemented by the CSIR-SARI, saying most farmers in the area were cultivating variety.
He praised the project team members including Drs Doris Puozaa, Prince Etwire, Richard Oteng-Frimpong, Mr Abdul Rashid Issa, and the rest of the team members and partners for good job done.
Dr Haile Desmae, Principal Investigator of the project at ICRISAT, Mali, said the project had increased awareness on improved varieties and had reached many farmers through different approaches including demonstration of technologies.
He said now that SARINUT 2 was highly sought by farmers, “We will build on the success and extend the variety to other communities so that we create a big impact.”