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The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) is one of the 13 research institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). It was originally known as the Nyankpala Agricultural Experiment Station (NAES) and operated as an outpost of the Crops Research Institute, Kumasi. In June 1994, it gained autonomy and was upgraded to a fully-fledged research institute and thus renamed Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI). SARI is located 16 kilometres west of Tamale in the Tolon/Kumbungu District. Mission: To conduct agricultural research in Northern Ghana with the aim of developing and introducing improved technologies that will enhance overall farm level productivity for improved livelihoods Mandate:To provide famers in the three regions of northern Ghana (Northern, Upper East, and Upper West) with appropriate technologies, to increase food and fibre crop production based on a sustainable production system which maintains and/or increases soil fertility.

Research Approach – Farming Systems Research

Since the early nineties SARI has adopted a bottom-up approach in its research activities. This approach is called Farming Systems Research (FSR). FSR aims at making SARI realize its research objectives in more practical and concrete terms. The approach emphasizes a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the farm household as a basis for determining the technical research programme. It also demands the implementation of research mainly on farm and in collaboration with Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) staff and NGOs in the field. To ensure a smooth and efficient implementation of FSR, SARI has established what are known as Farming System Research Groups (FSRGs) in the mandate area. These are groups with research scientists whose background cut across all the disciplines of agriculture – Crop Breeding, Agronomy, Entomology, Agricultural Economics, Soil Science, etc. These groups are:
  1. FSRG – Upper West Region Farming Systems Research Group, located at Wa.
  2. FSRG – Upper East Region Farming Systems Research Group, located at Manga near Bawku
  3. FSRG – Northern Region Farming Systems Research Group, located at Nyankpala, the head office of SARI.
There is another group at the station called the Scientific Support Group (SSG) that provides solutions on-station to problems without easy solution at the farm-level.

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