Ginger production is common to farmers of parts of the Ashanti Region of Ghana producing several tons annually. In recent years these farms have witnessed very low yields, close to total failures, from their farms due to inadequate rainfall and rising temperatures. In the cultivation of ginger, these farmers slash, burn and plough their fields exposing them to all the factors that will cause crop failure in the absence of adequate rainfall. Agrihome set out to establish a ginger demonstration field. This is to show farmers the how effective no-till under Conservation Agriculture is in mitigating the challenges posed by the current climate change. The technology also reduces cost of production besides increasing yield and improves soil structure.
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This report covers activities on and related to the Ginger demonstration under Conservation Agriculture with pictures.
The ginger demo site
Unlike the usual practice of “Slash and burn”, we cleared the site and left the residue on the field to serve as mulch, and decay to improve the soil. We removed stumps after clearing to prevent regrowth and create more space for the planting of ginger.
Ginger farmers, usually, will slash, burn and plough their lands for ginger cultivation as against the practice of Conservation Agriculture.
Ginger planting material preparation
Getting ginger ready for planting requires that, we cut into reasonably smaller sizes taking note of the nodes that are required to sprout. As much as possible we engage the youth in our activities, as well depicted, to raise their interest in agriculture in general and to get them conversant with our operations and the right practices in agriculture.
A visit to the ginger field by a group of youth
Before planting, a group of youth visited the ginger demonstration field to witness the practice of Conservation Agriculture in ginger cultivation. During the interactions, we exposed them to the benefits of Conservation Agriculture and the need to adapt to increase yields. They noted that the practice of Conservation Agriculture gave farmers a competitive advantage since it reduces the cost of production and increases yield.
Planting of ginger
We planted right after the planting material preparation and we planted right through the thick mulch. The video shows exactly how ginger is planted through the thick mulch.
Extending mulch cover
We made sure that areas of the field that were exposed due to movements during planting were covered with mulch.
Sprouting of ginger
Ginger started sprouting and appeared above soil after 14 days.
The picture is a close shot of one of the early sprouting ginger with dug-around-base to show root development.
Farmer’s visit to the ginger demo field
Clearly, 85% of the ginger planted had sprouted after 21 days of planting. This could be attributed to the conserved moisture by the undisturbed soil aided by the presence of vegetation residue acting as mulch.
A farmer took the chance to pass the field to witness the practice of Conservation Agriculture.
Application of manure to the ginger field.
The ginger field was, at that point, 4 weeks old and time for manure application to boost crop performance. A group of youth who has been following and learning the ways and benefits of conservation agriculture in ginger production helped with this activity.
Manual weed control
Weed control is a very important activity in ginger production and if not given the necessary attention may cause significant yield reduction. We take time to pick out all weeds on the ginger field to make sure the growth of ginger is not impeded, especially at the tender stages.
Farmer visits at 7 weeks
A farmer who visited the ginger demonstration field and gave his impression on the state and growth of ginger under the low rainfall high-temperature conditions.
He attested to the low sprouting rates on his farm and others that practised slash-burn and plough, comparing it to no-till as he observed. He reported some fields after 8 weeks even had as low as 10% sprouting of ginger.
Manual weed control at 8 weeks.
Weed control is one very key activity in ginger cultivation. We remove the weeds manually at least once every seven days after sprouting. This helps to reduce competition for sunlight, water and soil nutrients between ginger and weeds.
Weed control is the main activity after planting. We carry that out every month. The frequency and intensity of weeding reduce with time.
Harvesting, Cleaning and Bagging
Yield after harvest was 12bags * 50kg from 2bags planted on the 0.15acre piece of land. This is after reducing the cost of production by nearly 60%.
The ginger is cleaned after harvest. Cleaning involves removing the roots and excess soil from the rhizomes. After this activity, the ginger is bagged into standard sacks.
We recommend you choose an appropriate site for your ginger farms and practice no-till.