The uneven rainfall distribution coupled with the long dry spell in certain areas in May and June has affected crop production and other agricultural interventions in the region. As a result of this trend only 22.20% of the targeted cropping area in the region has been achieved with no acreage so far planted under the Block Farm Programme (a Ministry of Food and Agriculture intervention) due to the long drought.
The weather during the 2nd quarter 2013 as compared to 2012 was generally very dry, sunny and warm with occasional light rain showers. For the 2013 season, an average of 157.50mm of rain was received as against 178.70mm for the same quarter the previous year giving a difference of 21.2mm. an indication that the problem has to do with the rainfall distribution and not the amount per se. As at 20th June, the overall regional average percentage of area cropped is estimated to be about 22.20 % as against 33.9% for the same period last year.
The poor rainfall pattern has affected the growth and development of the early millet and subsequently will affect its yield. Crop performance on the average is very poor. The physical crop appearance on most of the fields visited looked stunted and wilting. Most of the crops especially early millet was stunted with slender stems due to the long dry spell. This condition had adverse effect on the already planted crops and subsequently poor harvest.
Pilot project Implementation
The objective of the pilot project is to provide alternative sources of food production and revenue generation for farmers who were affected by the drought in order to improve their food security.
The project was implemented in three communities, namely, Megogo, Nyankpade, and Kuka in Bawku East after an assessment of the situation. A total of 100 farmers were supported to cultivate pepper and onion during the dry season with the use of water from dugouts in watering the crops. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has been the main collaborator in this pilot project.
The inputs were sourced from the accredited agricultural inputs supplier through the advice from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The inputs supplied to the farmers were: fertilizer, seed (pepper and onion), insecticides and hosepipe for watering the crops from the dugouts.
The beneficiaries were trained on planting techniques, application of the fertilizer and insecticides.
The activities of the project will be monitored and supervised at the Regional and National levels to ensure the achievement of the set objectives and outcome.