PMIL in Ghana
PMIL researchers in Ghana and the U.S., aim better understand how improved practices combine to achieve increased peanut production and reduce aflatoxin contamination. The research, conducted on research stations and famers’ fields in several regions, involves comparing farmer practices with recommended improvements in planting/harvest dates, crop management, drying and storage. The results are being further disseminated through farmer field schools. Results have already indicated that the use of a simple tarp as an alternative peanut drying method to the conventional practice of drying on the bare ground or traditional A-frames and other structures, reduces aflatoxin contamination.
PMIL scientists and students are also examining the levels of aflatoxin and microbial contamination in locally produced peanut products. This information is then used to provide training to the processors, often women, on how to reduce contamination and produce a higher quality product.
Another research project is studying the social and economic incentives required for farmers to adopt and implement new methods in peanut production and processing. Results from the study showed that aflatoxin contamination was highest at the household level, as local producers are more likely to sell their highest quality peanuts into the market, and retain the lower quality nuts for household consumption.
Ghana is located in western Africa along the Gulf of Guinea. English is the official language, but many local languages are spoken including Akuapem, Twi, and Asante. Ghana is roughly the same size as the US state of Oregon.
More than 27 million people live in Ghana, a country whose economy is rapidly growing. Christianity is the primary religion, followed by Islam and other traditional religions.
Seventy-one percent of adults are literate. Poverty rates are dropping in Ghana, but large disparities remain in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions, with poverty rates being 2 to 3 times worse than the national average.
Ghana has two seasons: a wet and dry season. As a tropical climate, average temperatures in Ghana range from 21-28° C (70-82° F). Rainfall averages are from 78-216 cm per year (31-85 in).
Ghanaians typically eat a diet based on cassava, yams, maize, rice, and fruits such as plantains. Two million, or 7.5% Ghanaians struggle with food and nutrient deficiencies.
Peanuts, also known as groundnuts, are an important source of protein in the Ghanaian diet. They are used in many different dishes, peanut paste & butter, kulikuli, khebab powder, peanut oil, and eaten as snacks.
Most of the country’s groundnut production takes place in the northern regions of the country. Around 90% of farm families grow peanuts in some capacity, with very minimal purchased inputs. Peanut production averages around 1,200 Kg/Hectare, compared to the US production average of 4,500 Kg/Hectare.
|Table Data Source||(FAOSTAT, 2013)|
Improving the yield Ghanaian farmers get from their land would help the smallholder farmers’ bottom line and provide nutritious food for malnourished children.
Local Peanut Facts
- Main source of vegetable protein, groundnuts are eaten raw, roasted, as peanut butter, or as an ingredient in other dishes.
- High quality cooking oilcan be made of groundnuts.
- Groundnut hay is used for animal feed.