The Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) has introduced new and improved hybrid cotton varieties, in an effort to revamp the country’s cotton industry.
The new seed variety, which has been released to farmers, offer higher yields than the existing ones, and is expected to support the government’s agenda to revive local cotton production. It will also go a long way to help meet the raw material demands of local textile manufacturers.
Dr. Emmanuel Chamba, a Principal Investigator on the project at SARI, disclosed to the B&FT that the institute is to also start a commercial cotton seed breeding programmes, which he said will help provide the seedlings needs of farmers for the next four years.
According to him, the institute, in collaboration with Wienco Cotton, is evaluating the germplasm of the new seed variety with some selected farmers, to ensure that only quality seeds are produced and supplied to farmers.
“The collapse of the cotton sector has had a rippling effect on other sectors of the economy, especially the local textiles industry. So many people have lost their jobs because these factories are sourcing raw outside the country at a much higher price, which goes to increase their cost of production.
“So we are doing our best to support the cotton industry, but we cannot do it all y ourselves. We need more funding to be able to increase our activities and support for farmers,” he appealed.
He added, “When it comes to cotton production, the problem is not about the yield but the quality of the fibre to be produced. All these require equipment to be able to release quality seeds and as a research institution, we need the machines to ensure that we can effectively deliver on our mandate.”
On his part, Deputy Director of SARI, Dr. Roger A. L. Kanton assured of the institute’s commitment towards scaling-up its crop improvement activities, as part of efforts to ensure that the nation becomes self-sufficient in food production.
He said SARI would continue to develop crop varieties that that can withstand tough weather conditions, pests and climate change.
“We conduct research into food and fibre crop farming in northern Ghana for the purpose of introducing improved technologies to enhance agriculture productivity. Our goal is help our farmers to increase their volumes and value,” he added.
Dr. Kanton further noted that the institute also embarks on training programmes in seed production for seed growers, supervision and provision of facilities for post-graduate and under-graduate training and offering of practical training for university and polytechnic students on attachment basis.