CSIR-PGRRI advocates for conservation of Bambara Groundnut

genebank online
  25 May 2024 04:39pm

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI) has disclosed plans aimed at conserving and utilizing the genetic resources of Bambara groundnut (BGN) in Ghana.

The CSIR-PGRRI, in partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust and funded by the Federal Government of Germany through the German Development Bank, through a project known as Seeds for Resilience (S4R), aims to harness the rich diversity of Bambara groundnut for sustainable agriculture amidst the challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, and shifting food consumption patterns

A research scientist with CSIR-PGRRI, Dr. Matilda Bissah, lamented that Bambara groundnut, which is a vital crop with a rich culinary heritage, faces threats due to dwindling accessions and changing environmental conditions.

However, with over 100 accessions already in the gene bank, Dr. Bissah said her outfit introduced 20 accessions of the germplasms and evaluated them with farmers in the Bugri Bulpilsis community in Tempane and the Narasaag community in the Binduri districts in the Upper East Region to address challenges such as diseases, pests, and climate variability. Five accessions were selected for further production.

“Based on the success of the project, we are going to introduce other germplasm like vegetables, cereals, and legumes as well. Bambara groundnut is a women’s crop, and a lot of women grow it because it thrives on lands that are not very fertile or abandoned by the men. We hope that the diversity we’ve introduced will help them to gain appreciable yields under marginal conditions and also help them adapt to climate change,” she stated.

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Dr. Matilda Bissah - Researcher at CSIR-PGRRI

This came to light during a review meeting with the farmers since the inception of the project in 2021.

Speaking to Citi News, Dr. Patrick Attamah, a researcher at the Manga station of the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute of the CSIR, mentioned that the purpose of the project is to reintroduce improved seeds that were taken from farmers years ago for evaluation to enable farmers to combat the impact of climate change on agriculture. With the success, he expressed optimism that the project would be extended to other communities.

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Some of the farmers said the accessions that are high-yielding and can resist pests would contribute significantly to sustainable food and nutrition security, as well as rural livelihood upliftment in Ghana.