In 2019 our team of UK and Ghanaian scientists, growers and businesses were awarded a UK Innovate grant to carry out an 18-month feasibility study to find out if our low-input, Sarpo potatoes can be grown around Tamale, in the Northern Region of Ghana. Members of the team are Lisa Mynheer of Luminno Ltd, David Shaw of Sarpo Potatoes, Elias Sowley and Akubari Wumbei, University of Development Studies (UDS); the Ghanaian industry partners are Alhassan Tampuri of Excel Bit Com Ltd and Wayne Miranda of Growth Mosaic.
There is an urgent need to increase the production of vegetables in this area to improve diet, relieve poverty and provide jobs in agriculture in an area where most of the vegetables eaten are imported. Our first meeting was in Tamale in December, 2019. We kicked off with a workshop to introduce the potato as a new vegetable and with a visit to three sites with irrigation, selected for the first trial of Sarpo Axona and Sarpo Una. Certified seed has been exported from Skea Organics Ltd in Scotland to Tamale. Results of our first trial was disappointing due to high temperatures during the Harmattan growing season. However, results were promising in our rain-fed trials planted in May. A small crop of tubers was obtained. Scottish certified seed is being planted again in January and April, 2021 at sites with a more favourable temperature profile.