The Legacy Crop Improvement Centre has organised on-farm demonstrations in Fanteakwa North for its high-quality and locally adapted improved maize seed varieties and encouraged farmers to transition to commercial agriculture to enhance their livelihoods.
This is the fourth time LCIC, the first private local seed company specialising in producing and marketing basic seeds, has hosted a maize variety show to illustrate the prospect of its seed to stallholder farmers and raise awareness about its latest hybrid maize seeds.
Onuku Besea, a thriving agricultural town in the Fanteakwa North District of the Eastern Region with at least seven settlements and a population of about 800 people, hosted the demonstration.
The two maize seed varieties considered “gamechangers” for Ghana and West Africa that were introduced to small-scale farmers included “Legacy 2” [white maize] and “Legacy 26” [yellow maize].
On the sidelines of the field demonstration, Dr. Amos Rutherford Azinu, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LCIC, told journalists that both new and improved varieties had the potential to yield 8-9 tonnes per hectare when compared to past varieties.
He stressed that the improved seeds provided higher yields, resistance to disease and pests, adaptation to climate change, enhanced nutrition, and an extended shelf life.
He said as long as farmers embraced the variety and received the requisite support services, this could become a game changer for Ghana, helping mitigate food insecurity and significantly improving farmers income levels.
“If you compare to any other varieties in the past, most of these old varieties have to mature in 120 or 130 days, but these legacy varieties take 85–90 days,” he added.
Therefore, he said farmers could do three productions in a single year, and given satisfactory and suitable training, it would drive greater output and reduce Ghana’s reliance on western nations for maize supply.
“If we have 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and we have 1.4 billion people and mouths to feed, I don’t understand why we should allow two countries, Russia and Ukraine, whose populations are not more than 200 million, to feed 1.4 billion people,” he said.
Dr. Azinu emphasised that the small-holder farming system is not the solution to the problem of food shortages and urged governments to promote small-scale farming so that the industry could expand into commercial farming.
He urged smallholder farmers to actively pursue commercial farming as well, with the aim of establishing numerous commercial farms across the country within the next five years.
This strategic approach is expected to result in a robust supply of high-quality food for the nation.
Mr. Solomon Anani Attipoe, Fanteakwa North District Director of Agriculture, said the two new varieties hold great potential for raising maize production in the district because they are local hybrids with high yielding prospects.
He said that the majority of farmers in the community grow open types such as Obaatanpa, Abontem, and others, but the yield they usually get after harvest is not encouraging.
In view of this, he said most farmers had abandoned maize cultivation owing to substantial losses and noted that the introduction of the legacy variety would resurrect maize production.
“When we look at the demonstration we have carried out, we realise that the yield is very good, which will help us produce lots of maize that will serve the country,” he added.
He advised farmers to avoid using chemicals to dry their maize and instead adopt technologies that had been verified as safe to minimise potential hazards to health.
Mr. Adinkraba Apau, a 68-year-old farmer, who began farming in 1986 and was named the Second-Best Farmer in the Fanteakwa North District, was the person who planted the two legacy types and the old Abontem on different farmlands for demonstration.
According to him, when the Abontem was compared to the Legacy types, the Legacy generated far greater yields than the Abontem.
Although the amount of area used to plant the Abontem was greater than that used to grow the legacy varieties, he said, the yield from the legacy types was greater than that of the Abontem.
While applauding LCIC for coming up with such highly valued new maize seeds to assist farmers, he urged other farmers to use legacy varieties to help improve productivity and returns and contribute to easing maize shortages in the nation.
The LCIC is a private seed business organisation and consulting company founded in 2015 in Legacy Square, Otareso, Ghana, within the Akuapem North Municipality of the Eastern Region.
It specialises in producing hybrid commercial seeds such as maize, cowpeas, and soybeans.