Groundnuts in Ghana: how change on the ground can combat change from above

Early-maturing groundnut varieties are helping farmers in Ghana adapt to a shorter and more unpredictable rainy season, but improved seed is not always so easy to come by. CCAFS/Caity Peterson

10 years ago, Domogyelle Naalubaar, a groundnut farmer in Ghana's Upper West, travelled south to look for work. The Upper West and Northern regions of Ghana had been experiencing increasingly unpredictable rain patterns in recent years, placing harvests under constant threat and leading to reduced yields and income.

 Down south he was introduced to the improved “China” or Shitaochi variety of groundnut. Told they would mature several months earlier than the local variety he had always planted, he took a chance and brought a bag of them back to the Upper West, to his home in the village of Dazuuri.

“That growing season I planted them alongside my usual groundnuts, and I saw that the stories I had heard about the China nuts were true. I was so happy, because I was harvesting bagfuls of them long before my local seeds were ready to be pulled up. The rains ended early that year, like I had worried they would, and my crop of local groundnuts was lost. But because I had planted the China groundnuts, my family did not go hungry,” he says.

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