GHANA – The Ghanaian Legacy Crop Improvement Centre (LCIC) has made an advancement in agricultural research by developing high-quality new maize seed varieties that require less application of fertilizer.
Established in 2015 and headquartered in Legacy Square, LCIC is the first private local seed business company specializing in the production and marketing of basic seeds.
Hailed as “game-changers” for Ghana, the two varieties, Legacy 2” [white maize] and “Legacy 26” [yellow maize], were revealed while introducing them to smallholder farmers in the Fanteakwa North District.
Dr Amos Rutherford Azinu, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LCIC, highlighted the characteristics of the varieties, including their adaptability to climatic conditions, and said that farmers now have a more reliable and sustainable solution to increasing production.
According to Dr. Rutherford, the varieties have the potential to yield eight to nine metric tonnes per hectare as compared to existing ones and they also have high nutritional content and long shelf life.
He added that if farmers embraced the variety and received the necessary support services, this could be a game changer for Ghana, helping mitigate food insecurity and significantly improving farmer’s income levels.
“If you compared to any other varieties in the past, most of these old varieties have to mature in 120 or 130 days, but these legacy varieties take 85–90 days,” he added
However, Dr. Rutherford highlighted setbacks in the innovation, stating that the legacy varieties have no resistance to fall armyworms that attack maize and would require fall armyworm chemicals when there is an existence on the farm.
“When we sensed the existence of fall armyworm on the farm, we sprayed the farm twice using one bag of fall army chemical, and these pests were eliminated”.
He further noted that for now, there are no maize varieties that are resistant to fall armyworms, even though LCIC is looking forward to providing a solution.
On her part, Mrs Veronica Dadson, a Management Information System (MIS) Officer of the Department of Agriculture in Fanteakwa North District and Women in Agriculture (WIA), said the legacy maize varieties assured germination, adding that “the yields are even greater when you plant one seed per hole.”