Peanut Innovation Lab Holds 2016 Meeting in Ghana
Five dozen project leaders, researchers and graduate students from across Africa and Haiti gathered in Ghana for project updates, to visit test plots and tour research and production facilities. Over the course of the meeting, researchers traveled from Tamale south to Kumasi and on to Accra.
Ghana meeting attendees.
The director of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Stephen K. Nutsugah, welcomed the group in the opening session and stressed the importance of research and collaboration to close gaps in production and nutrition involving smallholder farmers.
“It is our firm belief that improving farmers’ access to quality certified seed of improved varieties is the starting point of agricultural transformation based on crop production,” Nutsugah said. CSIR is well positioned to deliver on its mandate of crop improvement by developing crop varieties that withstand low soil fertility, drought, pests and diseases, he said.
PMIL Director Dave Hoisington recognizes farmers, many of them women, who contribute to groundnut research by agreeing to grow a plot alongside their own to demonstrate how various varieties and interventions impact yield and other factors. Photo by Allison Floyd.
“The PMIL Annual Research Meeting is to give meaning to the vision of the CSIR by ‘Making Agricultural Research Responsive to Farmer Needs and National Development.’ Indeed, PMIL has provided great opportunity to CSIR by bringing together U.S. and African Peanut Research Scientists to support sound research foundation by filling critical research gaps that limit the development of the peanut industry in Ghana.”
In two days of presentations, PMIL lead scientists and collaborators shared findings in genomics, variety development, production, processing and storage, nutrition and other areas.
The group visited the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in Tamale and the Crops Research Institute in Kumasi, both of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi and the University of Ghana in Accra.
Ghanaian farmers show peanut researchers and others around their fields as PMIL holds its annual meeting in Ghana in August 2016. Photo by Allison Floyd.
The group also traveled to Zankali village near Tamale and Ejura village outside of Kumasi to see farmer test plots. Partnering with smallholder farmers in those villages, PMIL collects data to gauge the impact different interventions have over conventional growing practices. Farmers also can see these effects for themselves.