To the unknowing eye, what Kusi Adams does in order to choose what land to plant on might look strange.
He peers carefully at the different vegetation — weeds to most — to see what is growing. He also looks closely at the ground to see if he can find traces of millipedes and centipedes — insects most people try to avoid.
What the 42-year-old is trying to determine is how good the land near his home in Aworopata is for maize production, a skill he learned from the Farm Radio program on Astor FM.
“I don’t go and just start farming on the land like I used to, where at the end of the day I wouldn’t get anything,” Kusi says. “Now, I know all the qualities of a good site for maize production. It’s helped me get a good yield.”
Site selection isn’t the only new technique Kusi has used on his six-acre maize farm. He also has started planting in rows, and using improved seed.
“I’m happy now that I can get a good yield from my farm,” he says.
The radio program that Kusi 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.