The cultivation of cereal crops in Dasabligo
Dasabligo is a farming community in the Nabdam district in the Upper East region in Ghana, West Africa.
There are many crops that grow in Ghana. They include cocoa, coffee, yam, rice, maize, guinea corn, soya beans, groundnuts etc – most of these crops are annual crops. The premier crops are mostly grown around the southern part of the country where regular rainfall appears throughout the year.
Upper East region, Bolgatanga (where Dasabligo community is located), grows annual crops due to the parthera of rainfall at this part of the country. Among these annual crops grown in the east region include guinea corn, groundnuts, rice, maize, soya beans, beans, sweet potato etc. Among these crops: maize, rice, guinea corn and groundnuts are grown in our community, Dasabligo.
Maize, rice, guinea corn are classified as cereal crops while groundnut is a leguminous crop. This makes it possible for us to practice mixed cropping in our community. That is when the cereal crops can be grown with groundnuts. Below are the crops that we grow, how they are cultivated and how we make food out of them.
The botanical or scientific name of maize is Zea mays. It becomes the family of Crambidae. There are many varieties of maize in Ghana. Among them are local varieties or land race, synthetic varieties e.g. Dobidy, Aburotia, Bafia. We the people of Dasabligo grow the local (variety): Abelechi.
Maize likes rich soil with good drainage. Ideal soil for maize is sandy loam that stays moist without being too wet. Usually animals dropping are used as fertilizer. Rainfall between 600 mm and 900 mm during the growing season is necessary as well.
Propagation is done by seeds which are done manually by sticks or cutlass. The seeds are space 90 X 30 cm , 75 X 40 cm for the Abelechi variety. Two-three seeds are put per hole and germination occurs after four to seven days. Seeds that have not germinated should be replaced. Weeding is done manually by hoe or cutlass at regular depending on the weed on the farm. Maize mature between three to four months (90-120 days).
Food made from maize:
Maize can be eaten either boiled or roasted. It can also be processed into flour, corn flakes, use for beer, baking flour. The flour can be used preparing TZ, banku and kenkey with soup or tomato stew.
It botanical name is Sorghum bicolor.
There are many varieties of guinea corn; among them are Gambaga type Nunaba type, Naga White, Naga Red and the Belko type. The varieties grow in our community are the Naga Red and Naga White.
Guinea corn grows well in soils with high humus and well drained. Optimum temperature for growth is 27 °C but can bear extreme heat better than most crops.
The seeds are usually used for propagation. Recommended spacing is 75 X 15 cm. Guinea corn responds favourably to fertilizer application. For inorganic fertilizer we apply NPK 4°: 40: 10 In split closes. Half at sowing and half four weeks later The main diseases that attack guinea corn are rust and loaf spot and they can be controlled by crop rotation.
Guinea corn are used for preparing TZ, local alcohol known as pito and also for preparing porridge.
Groundnut is a dual-purpose crop. It can be cultivated as oil crop as well as leguminous crop. But it is mainly grown for its oil. Its botanical name is Arachis hypogea.
The nut (seed) contains 40-50% oil, 30% protein and 18% carbohydrates. The oil is used sor making margarines, cooking, soup and salad oil. The residue after the oil extraction is used as groundnut cake.
There are two main varieties. The bunch type and the runner or spreading type. Both two varieties grow well in rich, sandy loam soil. The soil must be rich in calcium and phosphorus to ensure good pods formation. Optimum rainfall ranges from 500 mm to 1000 mm per year but it can tolerate rainfall as low as 200 mm.
Groundnut requires a lot of sunshine and high temperature. It does not like shade or cloudy weather. Propagation: this is by seed. It can be planted solely or inter-cropped with other crops. One seed is planted per hole; spacing is 45-60 cm between rows and loam within rows for erect type. Seed should be dressed with fungicide before sowing.
Weeds are controlled by manual means with the hoe or cutlass or by used of weedicides. Weeding manually should be done twice before flowering. Fertilizer application usually in Dasabligo here, organic manure is used at the time of planting. But after planting nitrogen fertilizer can be applied.
Maturity and harvesting
The erect type clearly maturing matures in 90-100 days while the spreading type matures in 120-150 days. Harvesting is done by using hoe or pulling the plant by hand when the ground is wet. After harvesting the pods are dried and stored in silos or in bags either shelled or unshelled.
The most common groundnut disease in Dasabligo is groundnut rosette diseases. It usually causes the green leaves to turn yellow and mottled. Plant becomes stunted and finally dies. Pests like rodents which include rats dig up and eat sown seeds. The groundnut rosette disease is usually controlled by uprooting and destroying affected plants. The rodents are controlled by touching and trapping them.
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