Bonder Conda was sceptical when he first heard a radio program on Atobo FM mention that using improved seeds would result in higher yields on his maize field.
“Initially, I thought it was a lie. But I just wanted to try it and see if I could get the number of bags that was mentioned on the program,” he says.
Bonder set out to test the seeds, finding and buying them from the input dealers and planting them next to the seeds that he selects from his harvest and uses year after year on his farm in Patuda, in the Atebubu-Amantin District in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.
The difference was vast.
“With my own seeds, if I apply the recommended ammonia and fertilizer I could get about five bags,” he says. “With the improved seeds, if I use the recommended fertilizer I can get about 11.” As a result of his increased yield, he has been able to make more money.
Despite his now-broken radio, Bonder makes an effort to listen to the weekly FRI program on Atobo FM.
“I have told the farmers in this community to also use the improved seeds,” he says. “I’ve told them they will reap like I have, and if they do it they will be able to testify for themselves that indeed the seeds are good.”
The radio program that Bonder listens to is made possible through USAID’s New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund. This project focuses on using a scalable, integrated suite of ICT-based services to cost-effectively drive behaviour change and help Ghanaian farmers increase their yields of six target crops (maize, rice, soybean, cassava, yam, and cowpeas), thereby improving food security.