The Director
Savanna Agricultural research Institute,
Post Office Box 52, Tamale/Ghana/West Africa
Tel: +233 (0)3720 91205
Fax: +233 (0)3720 23483

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Ø  Introduction
Ø  The Groundnut Crop
Ø  Recommended Groundnut Varieties
Ø  Site Selection
Ø  Climatic Conditions
Ø  Soil Requirements
Ø  Groundnut in the Cropping Systems
Ø  Land and Seeded Preparation
Ø  Sowing the Groundnut Crop
Ø  Plant Spacing and seed Rate
Ø  Weed control
Ø  Fertilizer application
Ø  Insect pests Diseases
Ø  Postharvest Handling
Ø  Drying
Ø  Storage
Ø  Record Keeping
Ø  Reference

Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is one of the most important grain legumes in northern Ghana in terms of the area of cultivation and the use. Groundnuts can be eaten fresh, dry, roasted and it is also an important legume in the cropping systems of northern Ghana. Being a leguminous crop, it contributes to the nitrogen budget of the poor and fragile soils of northern Ghana. In rotation it can also control striga hermonthica, a noxious weed that reduces the yield of the major cereals in northern Ghana. Groundnuts play an important role in maintaining soil fertility in cereal-based cropping systems in sub-Saharan Africa because of their ability to fix nitrogen.
The Groundnut Crop
Groundnut is the sixth most important oilseed crop in the world. It contains 48%-50% oil and 26%-28% protein, and it is a rich source of dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins. Cultivated groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) belongs to the genus Arachis in the sub-tribe Stylosanthinae of the tribe Aeschynomenea of the family leguminosae. It is a self-pollinated, tropical annual legume. At locations where bee activity is high, some cross pollination can occur (Nigam et al., 1983). Cultivated groundnut has two subspecies, hypogaea and fastigiata which in turn have two botanical varieties (var, hypogaea and var. aequantoriana). Each of these botanical varieties has different plant, pod and seed characteristics (krapovickas and Gregory, 1994). However, most of the commercially cultivated varieties belong to the hypogaea (common name/market type: Virginia or runner), fastigiata (Valencia) and Vulgaris (Spanish) botanical variety groups.
Recommended Groundnut Varieties
CSIR-SARI and CSIR-CRI (crop Research Institute) has released high yielding commercial varieties which are cultivated through out the country. Some of these varieties are: Edorpo-Munikpa, jusie baalin, kpanielli, Nkatiesari, Nkosuor, Azivivi, Adepa, jenkaa and Chinese. Some characteristics of these rereleased groundnuts varieties are shown below:
Groundnut Variety
Maturity Period (ddays)
Achievable Kernel yield (t/ha)

Jusie baalin,

Site Selection
Select level or gentle slopping field for groundnut and avoid low lying areas or muddy fields. Groundnuts require well-drained sandy-loam soils that facilitate penetration of the pegs after pollination and easy digging without pod loss. Groundnut plants are sensitive to salinity and high soil acidity (pH<5.5) can induce magnesium or aluminum toxicity. In this type of soil, calcium should be added to maintain the pH above 6.
Climatic Conditions
The optimum temperatures for growing groundnuts range from 25°C to 35°C. Cooler temperatures, especially at night, prolong the growing cycle. Groundnuts are slightly sensitive to photoperiod. Although groundnut is drought tolerant, good performance is strongly linked to adequate soil water content at sowing time, followed by well-distributed rainfall. Early maturing small-seeded varieties require 300-500 mm of rainfall while the medium to late maturing large-seeded varieties need 1000-1200 mm.
Soil Requirements
The groundnut plant produces runners (horizontal stems) which in turn produce flowers at each node. These flowers self-pollinate and produce pegs which penetrate the soil. The groundnut pod is produced underground at the tip of the pegs. The topsoil must thus have low clay content (less than 20%) with a loose structure so that pegs may penetrate the soil freely. Do not select soil with high clay content which can cause groundnuts pegs to break during harvesting. Soil compaction may also be a problem if the fine sand fraction of the topsoil is high. This situation can be aggravated in soils where the organic matter is low.
Groundnut in the Cropping Systems
Groundnut fits into a wide range of farming systems. It can follow both cereals (maize, sorghum and pearl millet) and root crops (cassava and sweet potatoes). A groundnut does well in a virgin lands or immediately following a grass fallow or a well fertilized crop such as maize. Avoid following groundnut with groundnut and other leguminous crops that have similar pests and diseases to avoid the build-up of pests and diseases.
Land and Seeded Preparation
Groundnut gives the best yield on deeply plough fields with a fine seedbed. An even seeded ensures uniform planting depth and spacing, good germination and an increased infiltration. A leveled seedbed also facilitates weed control. Groundnuts can also be planted on ridges when vary wet conditions prevail. Since, groundnut is a subterranean crop (bears the pods underground), the land should be prepared well either by using a tractor, bullock or hand-hoe to provide a loose seedbed for nut development and removal. The seedbed should be deep, free from compaction to accommodate the root system of the plant. Avoid shallow soils because of their low water retention capacity as well as the possibility of water-logging.
Sowing the Groundnut Crop
Seed selection and treatment. Plant an improved and recommended variety for your agro-ecology. Seeds should be from a registered agro-input dealer.  Before sowing, the seeds should be careful prepared. Groundnut pods intended for sowing should be hand-shelled and sorted in order to eliminate shriveled, immature, mouldy and small seeds. Seeds should be treated with an insecticide and fungicide mixture to control soil borne pests and diseases. The common ones are Captan and Thiram. The viability of the seeds should be checked before planting by conducting a germination test at least 1 week before planting in order to ensure a good plant stand. Only seeds with a viability value >85% should be used.
Plant Spacing and seed Rate
Sow groundnut at about 5 cm deep. The recommended spacing for groundnut is as follow: 50 × 20 cm, or using 50 × 10 cm using 1 seed per hill. This gives an optimum plant population of 200, 000 plants per hectare.
Weed control
Groundnut cannot complete effectively with weeds, particularly at the early stages of development (3-6 week after sowing). Weeds compete with groundnut for water, nutrients and light. Early removal of weed reduces this competition therefore crop should thoroughly weeded within the first 14 days. Weed at least twice: 1-2 weeks after sowing and before the initiation of pegs. This also loosens the soil to facilitate pegging, thus increasing pod yield. Once pegging begins, soil disturbance should be avoided or kept to a minimum so as not to interfere with the development pods. In the event of high weed pressure after pegging, control weeds by hand-pulling. Pre-emergence herbicides (Pendimethalin e.g. Stomp or Alligator) may also be applied to a field a day or 2 after sowing to control both grasses and broad-leaf weeds. Also ensure to remove all off-types during weeding in order to maintain the genetic purity of the variety. Crop rotation may also reduce certain species of weeds and other pests and diseases.  
Fertilizer application
A reasonable level of organic matter must be maintained in light, weakly structured, tropical soils where groundnuts are grown. The groundnut plant has an extensive root system that allows it to explore a large volume of soil and therefore benefits from organic matter residues from preceding cereal crop. Cultivated groundnuts with balanced fertilizer N-P-K. Calcium must be added to acidic soils to bring the pH to within 5.5 – 5.6. Calcium deficiency leads to high percentage of aborted seeds (empty pods or “pops”) and improperly filled pods. Calcium is barely translocated across the leaves and should therefore be applied near to the fruiting zone (as a side dressing) at the onset of the pod formation. Where the soil nitrogen is very low and there has been continuous cereal cultivation, it is recommended to give a starter dose of at least 1 bag (50 kg) of 15 – 15 – 15 or 20 – 20 – 0 NPK fertilizer per ha. It should be broadcast before ridging or applied in band within 2 weeks after emergence. Apply N – P –k  20-60-30 kg/ha for best results.  
Insect pests and Diseases
Termites are the biggest pest problem in groundnut field under drought condition. They attack the roots, tunnel into them and the plants finally die. Other important pests and white grub (under wet conditions) and millipedes. Fields known to have history of termites’ infestation should be treated with Chlorpyrifos before planting during heavy infestation.
Scarification of pods by termites and other soil pests predisposes groundnut seed to cancer substance aflatoxins,produced by Aspergi  us f a us. Also shriveled, split or crushed grains are more pre-disposed to Aspergilus infestation. Striga gesneroides, which is parasitic weed of legumes, is also a serious pest of groundnuts in striga-endemic fields particularly in the Upper East Region where the soils are poor. 
Rosette disease, which is cause by an aphid vector. Aphis cracci ora are one of the most important diseases militating against groundnut production in Ghana. However, availability of rosette-resistance varieties, couple with the use of appropriate cultural practices such as close spacing, provide farmers with more environmentally sustainable options for rosette disease management. Early leaf spot and late leaf spot also occur from flowering to maturity. Rust also occurs after planting but it is most prominent at the pod filling stage. Brown leaf spot is a disease of groundnut and not a sign of maturity.
It is important to harvest groundnut at the right time and that is when the crop is mature. Flowering is indeterminate in the groundnut therefore there is a variable proportion of mature and immature pods at the end of the crop cycle. Groundnuts are mature when 70-80% of the inside of the shells have dark markings and the kernels are plump with colour characteristics of that variety. If harvested prematurely, the kernel shrink upon drying, resulting in decreased shelling percentage, poor seed quality and low oil content. If harvested late, non-dormant varieties will sprout in the field, resulting in yield losses. Leaf falls is not the best way to determine maturity. In determining pod maturity, you should verify the pod is well filled and the inside wall is dark brown.  Matured groundnuts are harvested by pulling out or digging the plant with the nuts attached. The plant should be turned upside down to expose nuts if pods cannot be stripped immediately. Pre-mature harvesting reduces oil quantity and quality while delayed harvesting predisposes seeds to fungal infection. Small machines like the groundnut lifter, stripper and Sheller may quite useful.   
Postharvest Handling
Sees quality mainly depends on appropriate handling and storage techniques for the harvested crop. Handling facilitates the selection of the best seeds quality. Groundnut seeds are protected by a small shell which acts as an excellent natural barrier against pests and diseases. However, this shell should be intact. Removal of damaged pods is therefore necessary. Crop residues mixed with the pods are often source of contamination.
The primary objective of drying is to achieve a rapid but steady drying of pods in order to avoid pests and diseases infestation such as aflatoxin in contamination. Harvested plants should be staked in the field for a few days to allow them to dry in the sun and air before stripping the pods. Then drying should be continued until the moisture content is reduced about 6-8%. This can normally be achieved by drying the pods in the sun for 6-7 days, taking care to cover them if it rains. If pods are exposed to the sun for too long both kernel quality and seed germination will be affected.  
Dry pods of groundnuts can be store in sacks, clay/mud silos, woven straw baskets and clay pots. A ton of unshelled groundnuts should be treated with 7 tablets of aluminum phosphide to protect it from storage pests.
Record Keeping
Farmers should encouraged to keep records of all their farm operations in order to enable them track their production to determine whether they are making profits or losses.
For information on record keeping, see SARI/AGRA training manual “Organizational strengthening and enterprise development for farmer based organizations (FBOs).
Nigam SN, Rao V Ramanatha and Gibbons RW. 1983. Utilization of natural hybrids in the improvement of groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea). Exl Agric., 19:355-359.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


The following maize varieties include DT Syn-1- W (Sanzal-sima), IWD C3 Syn F2 (Ewul-boyu), TZE – Y DT STR C4 (Bihilifa), GH120 DYF/D Pop (Tigli) and TZE – W DT STR C4 (Wang Dataa), were released to farmers for cultivation in 2012.

The soybean varieties were  Afayak, Songda and Suong–Pungun.

The National Variety Release and Technical Committee under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) declare the varieties released at the location of the CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI at Nyankpala.

It the took researchers scientists five years to experiment before they were proposed for release by the CSIR– SARI in partnership with CSIR – Crop Research Institute and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan,Nigeria.

The varieties have the following attributes: high yielding, tolerance to drought, striga resistance, and good grain qualities.

Duration: The maize varieties take between 90 days to 115 days to mature with potential yields ranging from 4.5 tonnes per hectare to 5.4 tonnes per hectare.

These varieties, both the maize and soybean, are more adapted to Guinea and Sudan Savanna climatic conditions of northern Ghana

Wednesday, October 23, 2013



The importance of access to agricultural technologies by our farmers continued to be a subject of much discussion during 2010. The key role that agricultural technologies play in improving productivity for farmer and the great impact that adoption of these technologies can make to livelihoods is recognized at the highest national level. Similarly, the many constraints to productivity and difficulties that affect farmers' access to appropriate technologies have been identified and various suggestions made. As these discussions continue, the challenge of feeding 24.4 million people in Ghana continues to be a cause for concern and severe challenges such as climate change emerge to complicate matters.

With a mandate to provide farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions with appropriate technologies to increase their food and fibre crop production based on sustainable production system which maintains and/or increase soil fertility, SARI and its partners made good progress during 2010 that we are happy to share with you. These are captured under Scientific Support Group, Northern Region Farming System Research Group, Upper West Region Farming System Research Group and Upper East Region Farming System Research Group.
Nevertheless, work on the Emergency Rice Initiative Project with funding from USAID improved farmers' access to quality rice seed and fertilizer and expanded knowledge on best-bet rice technologies. The project reached out to 12,635 farmers in 27 districts in the three northern regions and increased paddy production by 28,663 tons. These farmers gained access to best-bet rice technologies through on-the-job training and videos on rice technologies. Rural radio and TV broadcasts on these technologies were also used to reach other farmers not directly involved in the project. Translation of rice technologies into 7 major languages namely Dagbani, Kusal, Dagaari, Gonja, Kassin, Sisali and Buli was one of the major achievements chalked by the project.

I am glad to report that SARI continued expanding it partnerships and collaborations so as to comprehensively and holistically address farmer constraints in Northern Ghana. SARI worked with partners to boost maize-based cropping system productivity in Northern savannah zones through widespread adoption of integral soil fertility management. Adoption of best practices by farmers resulted in maize yield of as much as 3-4 t/ha. Further studies on inoculation of soybean with rhizobium also resulted in 30-40% yield increase at farmer level. Work on the installation of the facility for confined field trial (CFT) on developing a Maruca resistant cowpea had made significant progress with a favourable regulatory decision by the National Biosafety Committee to permit SARI to conduct the first CFT in 2013.

I wish to commend the staff, management and Board of SARI for the excellent work that they continue to do. Bringing technologies on a royalty-free basis for use by farmers in Northern Ghana and doing that through partnerships and collaborations with others is no mean feat. I believe that agricultural technology can and should make a difference to our farmer' lives. To achieve this, business as usual will not get these technologies into the hands of the farmers- there is a lot more that needs to be done, some differently.

Looking back, 2010 was a good year for SARI and on behalf of the Management Board, I would like to most sincerely thank all SARI partners, donors, staff and Board members for their support and commitment to the fulfillment of the SARI vision and mission.

Dr. Stephen K. Nutsugah
NB: Copies of the 2010 Annual Report are available in SARI Library. Contact the Librarian for details.


Rice Improvement: Seed
-Gbawa Rice (Perfumed) is available for sale to interested persons
Maize Improvement
Cassava Improvement
Yam, Sweet potato, Frafra potato
Cotton Improvement
Vegetable Improvement
sorghum Improvement
Legumes Improvement
Crop protection