Roughly 30% of the world’s population lives in dry areas. Approximately, one-third of this population depends on agriculture for their food security and livelihoods.
These areas are characterised by persistent water scarcity, frequent droughts, and high climatic variability.
Adapting farming practice to climate change will need several options and one is the development and testing of germplasm of drought hardy crops, especially the legumes, to address the household food and nutrition security in these regions of the world.
It is against this backdrop that Manga Station of CSIR-SARI has organised a field day on Stress Tolerant Orphan Legumes in Bawku.
The field day brought together about 150 farmers mostly women selected from 10 communities in three Municipal/Districts including Bawku Municipal, Binduri and Pusiga Distircts.
Introduction of the crops to farmers on field day is key in the eventual acceptance for cultivation.
Farmers were to select traits that are unique such as plant height, maturity period, yield etc. to suit their farming systems.
The farmers will also be involved in on-farm trials in the coming years.
Many of the world’s most important food legumes are grown in arid and semi-arid regions, where crop productivity is hampered by biotic and abiotic stresses.
Under the Promoting India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation, a project was formulated to evaluate Stress Tolerant Orphan Legumes (STOL).
The project, which is founded by Kirkhouse Trust, has four legumes being introduced and evaluated in Ghana.
The four new varieties are; Moth bean, Mung bean, Doliehus and Horsegram. In an interview with Radio Ghana, the Co-principal Investigator of the project, Dr Francis Kusi threw more light on the project.
He said among the four varieties, the farmers found Mung Bean as the most suitable to their farming system in the dry Sudan Savana Zone in the Upper East region.
The Mung Bean was selected by the farmers due to its earliness (45 – 50 days to maturity) and for that matter can help break the hunger gap early in the season when all their grains have been used for planting as well as drought escape.
Other factors considered by the farmers in selecting the Mung Bean include erectness, ease of harvesting, resistance to pests and diseases and drought tolerance.
It is hoped that eventually varieties of this legume will be accepted and released to farmers for cultivation for income generation and for food and nutrition requirements.