Substantial grain yield has been recorded by small holder farmers who adopted the Zai farming method n the Upper East Region.
About 100 farmers from Kazugu, Kayilo, Kuliya communities in the Kassena Nankana West District and Yiduri and Wuug in the Talensi District told the GNA that with the new technology they got more than three times the usual harvest this year.
Under the Zai farming concept, farmers are empowered with the necessary skills and capacity for digging planting pits in crusted soils which used to produce high runoff.
Zai pits have a diameter of 15 to 30 cm and a depth of 10 to 15 cm to collect rainfall and runoff.
This means that more water infiltrates so that water will be available to plant roots. Farmers put three handfuls of organic materials such as manure compost in each Zai pit (approximately 300 gram per Zai pit).
The Chief of Kazugu, Pe Thomas Aluah, who was part of those who adopted the technology and could not control his joy over the results, had mounted an exhibition of some of the high yield and good quality grains he got from his farm in his palace.
“I did apply the technology on my maize, sorghum and late millet farms and not only did I harvest about thrice of what I used to harvest but also got quality yields. You can have a look at them yourself”, he said.
He said communities found it difficult to feed twice daily particularly in the lean seasons and farmers who adopted the technology would not experience such a problem next year.
Pe Thomas Aluah said he was going to ensure that he used the technology to fight hunger in his communities come the subsequent rainy seasons.
According to him, the Zai was applied on soils which were barren with poor mineral and organic matter.
In fact nothing substantial grew on such soils and some of such soils had been abandoned.
“However, I can tell you that these lost soils are gradually being recovered and to me, this is a major innovation and a miracle”.
Mr Apiato Masumdok , a 37-year-old farmer, said with the bumper harvest he could now cater for his wife , children and siblings which he could not do in the past as a results of poor yields.
Pastor Michael Tamponab, a 59-year-old farmer, said he had been farming all his life and he had never harvested good yields as he did this time around after adopting the Zai concept.
He said he used to harvest not more than two maxi bags of maize on an acre but with the Zai, he harvested about eight maxi bags of maize
According to him, the Zai technology did not require chemical fertilizer which is very expensive but what was required was the preparation of compost and digging a hole and applying the compost after the crops had germinated.
Mrs Akurugu Yinbil, a 39-year- old farmer said although the technology was labour intensive, the results had been impressive. She said she implemented the Zai technology on her plot, compared it with a control plot without the Zai and harvested five donkey carts on such plots, two times less on the control plot.
“The stalks from Zai plot were also much bigger than on the control plot”, she said.
Mr Ibrahim Alidu, the Agriculture Extension Officer for the Kassena-Nankana West District, said most of the soils in the Region were marginal soils which affected crop production and that the Zai technology was the best in tackling that problem.
He said his outfit would help promote the technology for many farmers to adopt to help address the food security problem in the area.
“The innovative water trapping technique is making selected communities bloom in soils noted to be one of the most barren,” he said.
The Regional Director of EPA, Mr Asher Nkegbe who initiated the process and implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), appealed to the farmers to help diffuse the concept to get more farmers to adopt it.
Research indicates that the Zaï technique if properly executed, could increase production by about 500 per cent. GNA