THE Crops Research Institute (CRI) in collaboration with the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DMTA) Project, has released four new varieties of maize onto the market.
The maize is not only high-yielding, but also capable of withstanding drought, and has between two and three months maturity period.
The maize varieties are ‘Enibi’, quality protein white hybrid maize maturing in 105-110 days, ‘Aburohemaa’, ‘Omankwa’, both white maize maturing in 80-85 days and ‘Abontem’, a yellow maize maturing in 80-85 days, which is good for the livestock industry.
The project is being sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) Project.
The project is aimed at helping to reduce poverty and hunger and increase food and income security of resource-poor farm families and maize consumers in Ghana through the development and dissemination of nutritious, high and stable-yielding maize varieties tolerant to the major biotic and stress in the country.
Speaking at one of the national maize variety trials and a farmers’ field day at the Subingya Irrigation Project site at Wenchi, the Head of Cereals Programme at the CRI, Dr Kwadwo Obeng-Antwi, said the varieties were developed as a result of the climate change and its attendant shortening of the rainy seasons in Ghana, to help farmers reap the full benefits of their toil.
He said the trials sought to evaluate performance of new varieties against existing ones to determine which varieties would go into on-farm trials and subsequent release.
Dr Obeng-Antwi said the field day was also to allow farmers and other stakeholders to appreciate the performance of seven new hybrid maize varieties (PAN 53 imported by Wienco and eight Pioneer hybrids imported by AGRISERV) alongside 36 other varieties, including the recently released CRI/DTMA.
He said the 43 varieties of maize were tested in three groups based on their maturity periods, such as Eztra early varieties (75-80 days), Early (90-95 days) and Medium/Intermediate (105-110 days and late 120 days).
Dr Obeng-Antwi added that the field day would also expose farmers to the new maize varieties before they were released.
An official from the USAID, Mr Alfred Osei, pledged the agency’s support for such initiatives to increase productivity and incomes of farmers, as well as to ensure food security in the country.