SMALLHOLDER farmers in Ejura, Ghana are using their ethnobotanical knowledge of intercropping pigeon peas and maize to improve their farming productivity in the DIVAGRI research project.

Intercropping is one of seven biobased technologies that the DIVAGRI research project is trialing in five different African countries to improve farmer productivity in the circular bio-based economy.

In a pilot site field on-station at CSIR-Crops Research Institute, Fumesua-Ghana, smallholder farmers are planting a row of pigeon peas after every second row of maize.

Pigeon peas are scientifically known to fix atmospheric nitrogen and improve the soil quality of an area, making the nitrogen available for the roots of the maize plant for optimal plant growth.

The smallholder farmers here also used the pigeon pea plant as stakes for yam vines and as a windbreak for protecting the maize plants from wind.

Furthermore, the pigeon pea plants have a deep root system making them helpful for checking erosion on sloping farmlands.

“The smallholder farmers here have a wealth of knowledge about intercropping,” says DIVAGRI researcher Dr. Natson Eyram Amengor and Ing. Dr. Shadrack Amponsah from CRI,” The Pigeon Pea plant is one of several ethnobotanicals that locals use to improve their growing of basic foodstuffs.”

Photo: LPA members visit the DIVAGRI pilot site at CSIR-CRI Fumesua which is within the Ejisu Muniicipality.