A new foreign maize seed variety from South Africa, “30Y87”, which was introduced into the country barely two years ago, is making a tremendous impact on the agriculture sector by multiplying farmers’ yield, Aaron Akyea — an Agronomist and a Consultant to an international seed company, Pioneer — told the B&FT.
Maize farmer who used to cultivate between 6-8 maxi-bags per acre from local seeds can now harvest averagely 40 maxi-bags with 30Y87 (yellow maize). The new variety is not only high-yielding but also resistant to drought and many diseases.
“The success story behind this new maize seed is the yield and it’s tolerance to drought. There were some areas where it was introduced to farmers and those who planted the traditional seed got nothing that season, but farmers who accepted 30Y87 harvested average yield,” he said.
“We have run demonstrations at 13 sites in Brong Ahafo where it proved beyond the anticipation of farmers. Some of these sites managed by the farmers include Amponsakrom where farmers harvest 21.6 maxi-bags per acre; Tromeso 30.9; Duapompo 37.6; Enchiraa 34.5; and Tainso 47.7.”
Mr. Akyea was speaking to B&FT on the sidelines of a demonstration exercise for about 120 farmers at the site of Agri-commercial Services Ltd. in Wenchi. The exercise was aimed at testing new and existing maize, soya and sorghum varieties under good agricultural practices during the rainy season, with supplementary irrigation, as a prelude to the construction of a 3-5,000 hectare irrigation farm at Babartor-Kesei in the Bole/Bamboi District of the Northern Region.
He said if farmers go strictly by the recommendations, they will harvest over 40 bags per acre. “It is a unique variety with uniform white-cob colour, is big in size and also very sweet. It is now the most sought-after maize grain on the market.
“It is suitable for all kinds of local meals; kenkey, banku, porridge and corn-oil can also be extracted from it. Moreover, it’s the best for poultry birds as its high nutrient value enriches eggs,” he noted.
A volume of the new seed that covers a hectare of land sells at GH¢280.00 — thus many farmers have raised concerns about it, saying: “The price is too high for an average the farmer to afford”. But the Agronomist believes it is rather cheaper per the analysis of its economic output.
He said a lot of commercial farmers have realised the potential of 30Y87 and are enjoying the benefits, and urged all other maize farmers to follow suit.
By Edward Adjei FRIMPONG, Wenchi