The cultivation of cereal crops in Dasabligo

The cultivation of cereal crops in Dasabligo 

Ühispilt Dasabligo JHS
Our group of food project

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.

MAIZE

maize
Maize

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.


GUINEA CORN

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Guinea corn

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.

 

GROUNDNUTS

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Groundnuts (peanuts)

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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Rice

Watch our short video with music too!

 

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Common food and culture in Northern Ghana

Wanting to know the common food eaten by children in Estonia at night and how that food is prepared. Anafo Festus from form 6 of Zua Primary School wishes to share with his friends of Kambja, in Estonia, how to prepare TZ (tuo-zaafi) – a common food eaten by children from Northern Ghana at right.

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A woman preparing TZ

The items needed for preparing TZ are listed below:

  • Fermented water – flour left in water over night;
  • Flour – millet powder
  • Cooking pot
  • Stirring rod
  • Source of heat

Steps involve:

  1. The fermented water is sieved into the cooking pot on fire, leaving flour under the container.
  2. For about 20 minutes time when the water is boiling, the fermented flour is stirred and poured into the water to form porridge.
  3. To ensure a uniform sticky texture, fetch some of the porridge into a spare container and then sprinkle flour into the pot while stirring.
  4. When it becomes too thick for your dislike, you pour the reserve porridge inside and stir again until a uniform sticky texture is obtained. When this is done, you then serve.
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A pregnant holding a pot of pito (local drink)

So we wrote some overviews about our national food, drew some pictures and also performed some dances, specifically hunting, war, harvest dances which you can watch from the videofilm below.

Zua 2 hunters
Hunters and warriors from Zua

 

 

 

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Preparation of national dish called TZ

Tuo saafi (= TZ)  is the most common meal in Northern Ghana. Most people in Upper East eat it almost every day, some of them even twice a day. But what kind of preparations does that meal need? Students and teachers from Logre Primary School give you the presentation of the whole process about the guinea corn: from the plant in the field to ready TZ in your plate, step by step with photos.

5 overviewing steps with photos:

 

Watch also our video!

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Art exhibition in Daborin Primary School

School lunch
Students from Daborin Primary School wrote about their (school)days and how Mondo-supported school lunch has helped them.

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Our school lunch is made in this house
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Young “cooks” and our school kitchen

Yandoug Isaac (Form 6):
When I get up at home in the morning I wash and come early to school. I got number from school. Before the assembly we have to sweep the school houses. After the assembly – lessons.
1.15 PM is first break, after first break classes and in the second break we get some food from the cooks. Sometimes we get „banku“, sometimes rice and beans, sometimes TZ. We enjoy it very much. It helps us because of school lunch we come to school and stay here until they close the school.
My favourite food is rice and beans. I like rice and beans because if I eat beans every day it is very good to my body and to my blood and rice too is nice food.

Tilagmi Justina Yenbctil (Form 6):
I come to school early. We are given brooms and we have to sweep the floors. We eat at 12.23. I like most banku and groundnut soup!
Our school lunch menu of the week was:

Weekday School lunch
MONDAY Rice and stew
TUESDAY Banku and groundnut soup (my favourite!!!)
WEDNESDAY Beans and rice
THURSDAY TZ and groundnut soup
FRIDAY Rice and geari

 

Kunubil Solomon (Form 6):
When I get up in the morning before sun rise I wash my face. I take my breakfast. When it’s 6:00 I start going to school. When it’s 6:30 we will start sweeping the compound and picking the garbage.
After 12:45 we will take lunch. The food helps us so many things. If we get up early in the morning and don’t eat anything, but at 12:45 now we eat lunch.
After taking lunch, when it is 2:15 we will ring the bell for assemble and after that we go home. So food is very important and it is very tasty too. Thank you very much for what you have done for us.

Art exhibition

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Everyone’s drawing, even our teacher
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Teacher Liina from Estonia and us drawing the pictures about food.

We, 6th grade students from Daborin Primary School, also painted some pictures about food. The materials (watercolours, brushes, papers, oil pastels etc) we used for drawings were brought from Estonia as a gift for us. Afterwards we made an exhibition in the classroom. And now you have the chance to see a short video about our drawings and listen to the African music at the same time.

Have a pleasant time with our electronical art exhibition!

 

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