Introduction

The Soil and Environmental Sciences Research Centre (SESRC) of BNARI seeks to formulate innovative technologies that contribute towards the creation of a safe environment which also enhance sustainable agriculture practices for wealth generation by end users. To achieve this aim, SESRC engages in research activities that lead to a less disease-prone environment, improving growth and yield of food crops, encouraging the use of efficient irrigation practices and nutrients management strategies. Scientists at this centre also engage themselves in research activities in the area of nutrient mining from agricultural and municipal solid waste for sustainable agriculture. Ultimately, SESRC seeks to lead Ghana’s effort to create a sanitized environment and a sustainable approach to enhancing food security and the livelihood of her ever-growing population. The centre also houses the Compost Plant and the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) Facility, which are involved in producing nutrient-rich compost for organic crop production. Compost research from the Centre has led to the establishment of Compost Manufacturing Plants at Ashaiman by Safisana, and Nungua farms by IWMI.

Vision

To be a leading institution that provides a sustainable solutions to challenges in agriculture health and industry through biotechnology and nuclear science interventions.

Mission

To conduct research into the development of sustainable solutions by exploiting biotechnology nuclear and related techniques for enhancement of food and nutrition security health and wellbeing industrialization and poverty alleviation

Mandate

To conduct research activities that contribute towards the enhancement of peaceful application of nuclear and related techniques in soil, water, and nutrient management for crop production, (2) To conduct research into climate-smart agriculture, (3) To conduct research activities that enhance ecological monitoring, protection and remediation in agricultural systems, (4) To develop and transfer technologies to farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture and environmental value chain. (5) To provide consultancy services to public and private entrepreneurs to achieve a sanitized environment and food security in Ghana.

Research Activities

  1. Nutrient Mining from Waste for Sustainable Agriculture
  • The agronomic potential of composted biochar: Effect on Nitrogen use efficiency and rate of application for maize production in a coastal savanna soils of Ghana
  • Production of bio-fertilizer from organic waste (excreta, organic fraction of municipal/market solid waste and sawdust) using aerobic, semi aerobic and vermi-composting techniques (including the use of BSF larvae)
  • Research into sustainable food production through the use of bio-fertilizers and irrigated farming systems.
  • Organic Fertilizer Development from Market Waste as a Conservation Agriculture Measure: Its effect on maize, cabbage, tomatoes Green pepper, Cucumber, Lettuce and okro.Maize L.
  1. Soil Fertility and Nutrients Management
  • Quantification of biological Nitrogen fixation (BNF) using the isotope method in soya bean production.

Pot experiment to quantify BNF in soya bean using sorghum as a reference crop 

  • Enhancing Productivity and Climate Resilience in Cassava-Based Systems through Improved Nutrient, Water and Soil Management.
  • Optimization of Nitrogen fertilizer Usage for lettuce production on farmer’s field.
  • Optimization of organic fertilizer (co composted poultry litter biochar and corn cob Biochar) rating for high value crops (Brassica spp) for sustainable production


  1. Soil and Water Management for Crop Production
  • Land use potential of BNARI soils for sustainable crop production
  • Modelling crop coefficient values for maize and cabbage from the soil water balance component: actual crop evapotranspiration.
  • Water Use Optimization for Enhanced Cassava Production in High Soil Moisture Deficit Zones
  • Modelling of crop’s soil-water-nutrient relationships
  1. Water quality for environmental management
  • Comparative Study of Wastewater Quality from Biofil Toilet Facilities in Urban Ghana – A Case Study in Greater Accra

Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate change is a reality and its effect may be detrimental to agricultural development in Ghana. Currently, the effect of climate change is localised and mostly lie within the range of natural climate change. However, in the longer-term climate change is likely to have a bigger effect on food supply than any other factor affecting agricultural productivity. Climate change is associated with drought and emerging new pests and diseases which pose greater more complicated challenge to food production. To mitigate against changing climate, BNARI is conducting series of research to develop crops which are resilient the effects of climate change. Principally, BNARI aims at developing drought tolerant plant species, use small-scale drip irrigation for vegetable production as a climate change mitigation, drought and water use efficiency studies in crops. The institute is also using neutron probe to study water use efficiency and soil-nutrient water management for crop production. This is done with the aim of obtaining the highest possible yield with as minimum fertilizer and water input as possible.

The centre also conduct research into nutrient use efficiency of high value crops such as (cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, okro) and staple crops (cereals, cassava) as a climate change mitigation measure. Stable isotope techniques are used to assess the nutrient uptake by plants from the applied fertilizer. Based on the assessment results, the efficient use of the applied fertilizer by the plant is calculated and appropriate recommended rate is proposed for that specific plant. This helps to reduce nutrient losses to the environment and potentially decrease requirements for chemical fertiliser.

SERC employs the greenhouse method of growing tomatoes to shield the tomatoes from excess heat and unwanted pests which helps to grow crops all year round. This technique extends the growing season of prized crops

Commercialization Activities

  • Production of organic vegetables from open field and greenhouse.
  • Compost production from municipal and agricultural waste.
  • Production of co – composted biochar with municipal and agricultural waste.

Training/Consultancy

Training

  • Compost formulation
  • Compost application practices
  • Soil nutrient management practices for vegetable and cereal production
  • Irrigation Technologies application for vegetable and cereal production to urban and peri-urban farmers.
  • Greenhouse technology for high value crops and cereals production

Consultancy Services

  • land evaluation for sustainable crop production
  • Land Use Service
  • Soil testing and Profiling
  • Soil fertility and plant nutrition evaluation
  • Laboratory analysis (chemical, physical and microbiological) on soil, plants, water and effluent.

Achievements

  1. Developed Compost Production Template for ACCAP.
  2. Trained JAKORA Waste Management Ltd. on the commercial production of compost
  3. Trained 200 youths of Youth in Environmental Service Delivery (YES-Programme) with funding from Global Communities.

Partners/Collaborators

  1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Austria
  2. Public and Private Universities
  3. University of Ghana
  4. University of Cape Coast
  5. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
  6. Council for scientific and industrial Research Institutions
  7. Oil Palm Research Institute
  8. Soil Research Institute
  9. Crop Research Institute
  10. Water Research Institute
  11. Farmer-based organisations/Associations
  12. GAEC Vegetable farmers Association
  13. Okaikwai North vegetable farmers Association
  14. CSIR vegetable farmers Association
  15. Akuapim North vegetables farmers Association
  16. Safi Sana Ghana Ltd (SGL)
  17. Global Communities (formerly Co-operative Housing Fund – CHF
  18. International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
  19. Agro-Eco Louis Bolk Institute (AELBI) Forschungsinstitut fur Biologischen Landbau (FiBL)
  20. Ghana Bio Network
  21. Asadu Royal Seed & Waste Management Limited
  22. Biofil Composters Ghana Limited (BILFILCOM)
  23.  

Directory

The Centre Manager,

Soil and Environmental Sciences Research Centre (SESRC)

BNARI-GAEC

P.O. Box LG 80, Legon-Accra, Ghana

Email: sesrc.bnari@gaec.gov.gh

 

Location:

SESRC is close to BNARI directorate which is within the premises of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC). GAEC is about 6 km off the main Legon-Madina road and it is between the Haatso and Kwabenya towns.

Digital Address/ GPS: GE-257-0465