Soybean Management with Appropriate Research and Technology (SMART) Farm

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The Soybean Innovation Lab SMART (Soybean Management with Appropriate Research & Technology) Farm is a knowledge and technology hub, providing farmers, practitioners, agricultural development organizations and governments with evidence based technical guidance on soybean production. 

The SMART Farm replaces anecdotal guidance with regular, formal, and scientifically produced guidance for the industry, while simultaneously engaging in deep capacity and institution building with its partner the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI).

The SMART Farm research model is innovative because of its ability to readily translate research into appropriate practices for adoption by those engaged in soybean production and development.

The SMART Farm evaluates issues related to germination, planting date, amendments including phosphorous and inoculum, planting methods and varietal performance. The Farm also serves as a hub for research related to seed quality, soil improvement, and nodulation. The SMART Farm approach also involves capacity and institution building as the Soybean Innovation Lab team works hand-in hand with Ghanaian researchers and technicians.

Research and collaboration occurs at all three Savanna Agricultural Research Institute locations in Ghana with the main headquarters at Nyankpala in the Northern Region with field stations in Manga in the Upper East Region, and Bawku in the Upper West Region. The research conducted at the SMART Farm shows that when combining appropriate agronomic practices, soybean yields using locally available varieties can be increased over 2.5 times what farmers commonly experience in northern Ghana.

The SMART Farm in northern Ghana provides an ideal training center for practitioners from countries in West Africa due to its regional location and similar climatic conditions. The Soybean Innovation Lab plans to establish similar SMART Farm hubs in Eastern and Southern Africa to improve agricultural techniques and innovations in these regions as part of its pan-African strategy to increase soybean production across the continent.

Contact the Soybean Innovation Lab at soybeaninnovationlab@illinois.edu to learn more about establishing a SMART Farm in your country or region.

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Dr. George Awuni 
Mississippi State University