Some Bambara beans farmers in the Upper West Region are calling on stakeholders in agriculture to identify strategies to improve on food security in the region.
The farmers say bambara beans is one of the important food crops that helps in fighting hunger among rural folks but has over the years been seen as a crop for women.
Traditionally, bambara beans, okro and pepper have been seen as crops grown by women to support their families during the when food availability is scarce, while men also grow yam, millet, guinea corn and cassava to cater for everyday meal of the family.
Very few farmers engage themselves in bambara groundnut cultivation, but land has been a major challenge for them as they are allocated just a small plot of land to cultivate the crop. The Upper West region is an area with considerable bambara groundnut genetic diversity.
Valuable information on its production and genetic resources exists within the indigenous knowledge systems studied, and ranges from economic and agronomic criteria for peasant farmer selection of particular varieties and traditional uses of the crop. Farmers, mostly women, told TV3 that they have been hard hit this year by climate change which has affected their yield.
Fati Alhassan, a bambara groundnut farmer at Boli in the Wa municipality of the laments: “This year, the bambara beans have failed us due to erratic rainfall all supposed to have been like these ones in my left hand but the white ones in my right hand is not matured and needed some amount of rains to mature, that is what has happened to us, everyone is crying”.
Another farmer, Mariama Jeyirinaa said:”bambara groundnut has a lot of benefits for us in the dry season. We use them to cook for our families, it also supports us financially to do other things”.
Ibrahim Yakubu explained why men do not cultivate bambara beans: “The reason is that bambara beans harvest coincide with the season of making mounds for the yams so if you break to harvest, the farm will get dried up, so that is why”.
Adams Alhasssan on the other hand wants agric extension officers to support them in the Bambara groundnut production, especially with strategies for the management and conservation of locally adapted varieties as well as pest and disease management.
As an educationists moving into his second year of cultivating the crop, he revealed it is a lucrative business with a ready market but receives less support from stakeholders in the agric sector.