A seven-member team from WAAPP Ghana undertook a study tour of Burkina Faso to identify technologies that could be adopted in Ghana. Specific objectives of the tour were to identify tomato varieties that tolerate hot conditions and good for dry season cultivation especially in the southern parts of Ghana.
Also, the team was tasked to study the mango drying technology as well as fruit fly management in mango production. The team also took the opportunity to visit an Innovation Platform (IP) to learn about the management and facilitation of functional innovation platforms.To achieve the task assigned to the team, visits were made to the Food Research Institute (IRSAT), Technology Transfer Centres, Food Processing Centres and farming communities.
Visit to Food Research Institute (IRSAT)
At the Food Research Institute, the Ghanaian team was told that the Institute was currently working on three programmes for WAAPP Burkina Faso. These are:- Mango Project to produce vinegar, onion preservation (dry onion), onion powder and onion powder with spices) and improving the qualities of mango through value addition and utilization (fruit juice/syrup, sliced-dried mangoes).
During an interaction with a Cowpea Platform at Kongoussi, the Ghana team was amazed by the successes attained by the Platform consisting of 2,000 women producers and processors. Even though the platform was established only in 2013, the group has been able to increase production volumes of cowpea from an initial 700-750 kg/ha to a current level of 900-1,000 kg/ha with a potential yield of about 2,000 kg/ha. The factors accounting for this success were the availability of improved cowpea varieties, capacity building of beneficiaries in pest control and post-harvest management as well as a ready market for the cowpea and its processed products.
Visit to Orodara Co-operative, Kenedougou Province
The WAAPP Ghana team next visited a Mango Co-operative group at Orodara in Kenedougou Province. This is predominantly a male dominated group made up of 162 members (160 males and 2 females) and involved in the production and processing of mangoes since 1963. The group has a cultivated area of 762 ha and processes between 300-600 tons of mangoes a year and also exports fresh mangoes to Europe.
The group, however, faces severe challenges including mealy bug and fruit fly infestation, water stress due to long dry periods and the use of old trees and varieties. All these challenges have resulted in low yields.
The last stage of the WAAPP Ghana team tour was a visit to two mango processing plants in Bobo Dialasso.
The two plants were involved in the processing of fruits and vegetables such as onion, tomatoes and mangoes mainly for export. Together, the plants process about eleven tons of mangoes into chips at the peak of the season per day and employ a total of 220 people.
At the end of the study tour, the WAAPP Ghana team identified the following potential technologies to be adopted in Ghana:
a. Food Technologies
- Drying of mango technology
- Drying of onion technology
- Production of mango syrup
- Drying technology for other fruits and vegetables
The drying ovens in Burkina Faso were recommended for adoption in Ghana.
In conclusion, the following recommendations have been made by the team for consideration by WAAPP Ghana:-
- Follow-up visits to Burkina Faso for details of technologies to be adopted
- Request for protocols for technologies to be adopted from WAAPP Burkina Faso
- It was observed that Mr. Yaw Gyan, farmer representative in the Ghana team and also the third National Best Farmer in 2014, had a lot of experience in the mango industry. He is therefore, recommended to be supported by WAAPP Ghana to adopt the mango processing technology since he has over 200 ha of mango plantation.
With regards to heat tolerant tomato varieties, the team could not find any in Burkina Faso and therefore WAAPP Ghana will have to look elsewhere for those varieties.
The Ghana team was made up of the following:-
- Emmanuel Alorigiya – Communication Officer and Team Leader
- Offei Bonsu – Research Scientist/Breeder, CSIR-CRI
- James Akatse – Irrigation Agronomist, GIDA/MOFA
- George Prah – Senior Agricultural Officer, DCS/MOFA
- Isaac O.O. Ansah – IP Focal Person , CSIR-CRI
- Christopher Gaitu – Pest Control Unit, PPRSD/MOFA
- Yaw Gyan – Farmer, Wenchi, Brong Ahafo Region
Ghana team with Scientists at INERA Group picture – Ghana Team and Orodara Co-operative Society