GHANA – Ghana’s research institutes have developed new rice and cowpea varieties with improved traits that is set to improve the country’s economy by US$160.67 million, reports Ghana News Agency.

According to an economic assessment done by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the country is set to gain over US$160 million upon adoption of the new varieties.

Dr Paul Boadu, Research Associate at FARA, said that of the income generated, rice would contribute US$64.06million and US$115.72 million from cowpea annually.

“The net benefit assessment of the crop also shows that the country stands to gain about US$115.72 million every year if the variety is adopted by farmers,” he said.

The nitrogen efficient rice and biological resistance cowpea were developed by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute in collaboration with the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The new rice has improved performance as it has the capacity to utilise atmospheric nitrogen making it more adaptable.

Dr Paul Boadu added that farmers and consumers pose to benefit from adoption of the new high yielding crops.

“We observe that most of the rice produced in the country is lowland rice but due to climate change and effects of drought, they are not able to do well but the nitrogen efficient rice is actually a highland rice that does well in lowland areas as well.”

Additionally, he said that the high yields would also save the lump sum amount spent by the government to import rice.

Professor Walter Alhassan, the former Director General CSIR said that the biologically resistance cowpea variety is to salvage farmers from the high cost of inputs used during farming.

“Farmers usually spray about nine times before harvesting cowpea but the new variety is able to resist insects and pests such that they do not affect it so adopting it means a reduction in production cost leading to a reduction in prices that farmers sell the produce.”

Food production and nutrition is expected to take a turn-around in the country with adoption of the new crops.

Ghana’s 687,680 metric tonnes local rice production does not meet the local demand which is costing the country through an importation of an equivalent amount.