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Pomegranate cultivation viable in Ghana – CSIR-FORIG research reveals

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By Yussif Ibrahim, GNA

www.ghanareaders.com

Kumasi, Feb.04, GNA – The Forestry Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-FORIG) has identified Abofour, a dry semi-deciduous ecological zone in the Offinso North District, as suitable area for the cultivation of two pomegranate plant varieties in Ghana.

This was after an extensive research, conducted by the CSIR-FORIG to assess the capacity, growth and yield of the two varieties; ‘Hicaz’ and ‘Wonderful’ that originated from Turkey and South Africa, respectively.

The research, which sought to domesticate the plants, was conducted in collaboration with Blue Skies, a fruit processing company in Ghana.

Pomegranate, a red fruit-bearing deciduous shrub in the family of Lythraceae, categorised as a berry, is round and looks like a red apple with a flower-shaped stem.

It is used to prepare fruit juice and said to have 12 health benefits.        

In July and August, 2018, seedlings of the two varieties were planted on four fields at Abofour, Yenku Ajumaku-Eyan-Essiam District, Mpraeso at Kwahu West, and Mesewam in the Ejusu Municipality, by the research team, comprising Professor Daniel A. Ofori, Prof. Paul P. Bosu, and Mr A. Antwi-Wiredu.

The team, in March and September, 2019 conducted a growth performance assessment on the pomegranate trees from the four sites with focus on growth height, diameter of the stems, and the number of shoots developed.

According to the 2019 annual report of the CSIR-FORIG sighted by the Ghana News Agency, “The relative growth rate (RGR) of height (cm) over six months interval, and growth in height of pomegranate one year after planting was determined.”

It said the highest relative growth rate for ‘Hicaz’ was produced at Yenku (1.91cm), followed by Mesewam (1.74cm), Mpraeso (1.64cm) and Abofour (1.56cm).

In the case of ‘Wonderful’, it was slightly higher at Abofour (2.19cm) than Yenku (2.18cm), Mesewam (1.72 cm), and Mpraeso (1.32cm).

The highest growth in height for Hicaz, the report said, was recorded at Abofour in the Ashanti Region and that there was a significant growth height difference (P0.05) between Abofour and the other sites.

Furthermore, the development of shoots for both varieties was highest at that zone followed by Yenku and the rest of the sites.

“The plants at Abofour outperformed exceedingly by recording the highest diameter of girth for both pomegranate varieties than others,” it said.

Yenku falls within the Coastal Savannah, Abofour in the Dry Semi-Deciduous, Mpraeso and Mesewam in the Moist Semi-Deciduous ecological zones.” 

The performance of the plants supports the fact that pomegranate is light-loving and prefers dry zones compared to moist zones.

Abofour showed the highest growth and development performance for both Hicaz and Wonderful pomegranate varieties as compared to the other sites, the report said.    

GNA

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