One of the major constraints to consistently increasing grain yields in Ghana is the perception that farming is a subsistence operation, not a business. The use of hand-wielded cutlasses and hoes for farming is still deeply rooted.

Abu Imoro multi-crop thresher ATT by aoppongansah
Badakia stands next to his multi-crop thresher in the Upper West Region

Steadily, the Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer Project is reversing this trend through the introduction of powered labor-saving equipment such as power tillers, soy milk processors, manual planters, and multi-crop threshers. More than 280 farmers have benefitted from the new technology.

Improved Processing for Fewer Losses

One of the many beneficiaries of labor saving equipment, Kassim Badakia, a 34-year-old farmer attests that the multi-crop thresher helped him increase his production from 3,470 bags of maize in 2014 to 4,760 bags at the end of the 2015 cropping season.

“The equipment has contributed to my success as a farmer. Harvesting is supposed to be a joyful period for every farmer, but with me it was a mixed feeling because I had to go through the hassle and spend money and time on labor before I somehow get a clean grain because my sheller was unable to separate the maize grains from the chaff. But now the B4 equipment is doing that work for me,” he said.

According to him, the new equipment hulls and threshes about 100 maxi bags (100 kg) per day and gives a clean output. The old machine took longer than a month to shell and winnow the maize, which led to losses.

Tiller Saves Time and Money

Issahaku Muhammad Alhassan, a lead farmer at the Botanga Irrigation Scheme of the Northern Region, was one beneficiary of 59 power tillers delivered to farmers, purchased through the Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer Project’s grant matching program. He saved GHC 1,256 (about US $315), which would have gone into renting a tractor for land preparation and labor cost for harvesting his three-acre rice farm.

“I am investing the money in the education of my last two children, who are in the tertiary level. In addition to the savings, I am able to take my time to do good land preparation to make certain that my land is level to ensure proper water management,” he proudly stated.

Normally, he would have spent GHC 356 (about US $89) to hire a tractor during land preparation and GHC 900 (about US $225) to pay laborers to harvest his three-acre rice field.

“With the power tiller I am able to do everything very timely. Because I have the equipment, I prepare my land on time and still have time to support other farmers. Also, when it’s time to harvest, I do it at the right time to avoid post-harvest losses. I am most grateful to the American People and the project,” he said.