Management of the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL), an initiative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), has sensitised farmers and stakeholders on the Soybean Management with the Appropriate Research and Technology (SMART) Farm concept that will help boost soybean production in the country.
The SMART Farm concept organised by SIL was to conduct research and develop technologies that help soybean farmers enhance their crop yield and encourage more farmers to venture into the legume’s production.
The new soybean variety – named Favour, according to SIL – has been tested and proven to yield about 20 percent more than existing varieties, in that it shelters more leaves which serve as organic matter for the soil.
During a farm demonstration on planting methods, chemical application and mulching processes, some farmers who were taken to the field to observe potentials of the crop were convinced that the variety, when cultivated, will help boost their yields.
Dr. George Awuni, SMART Farm Manager at the SIL, said the variety has been available for over three years but the inability of farmers to access it has been a challenge – hence the field visit to educate farmers on potentials of the variety and the need for them to cultivate it.
He said the variety produces higher quality soymilk as well as other soy products, and it is disease-resistant compared to other varieties. The new variety yield has been from 1.5 metric tonnes in 2020 to 2.6 metric tonnes in 2021 – indicating that farmers are likely to get more profits from the crop.
SIL has also introduced a multi-crop thresher suitable for threshing a variety of crops except for groundnut; and it has a total output of 1,500 to 3,500 kilogrammes of grain per hour. The thresher was introduced alongside the new soybean variety, because it was realised that crop variety and processing are some primary causes of loss in soybean production.
Soybean is mostly grown in northern Ghana as a cash crop, and is mostly cultivated by smallholder farmers – especially women. It is said they have a huge potential for soybean processing and export if post-harvest losses are minimised.