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Peanut Lab in Ghana

Researchers in Ghana and the U.S. are working to put together production packages that help farmers achieve the largest, high-quality crop. In other projects, plant breeders and geneticists across Western Africa are studying the genetic diversity of peanut and integrating desirable traits, studying the time constraints of Ghanaian women who grow peanuts and looking for market incentives to reward farmers for investing in equipment that leads to a safer, higher-quality crop at the market.

High throughput phenotyping (HTP)

Using handheld digital sensors to measure temperature, ultraviolet light, and other potentially informative parameters. The project will allow breeding programs in Senegal, Ghana, and Uganda to evaluate plants in new ways and more quickly for enhanced breeding purposes.


Breeding for drought, leaf spot and oil

This project uses wild species, genetic populations generated in the USA and West Africa, and selected ICRISAT breeding lines to breed for tolerance to water deficit, resistance to leaf spots, and enhanced oil composition in Ghana and Senegal. DNA markers for tolerance to water deficit stress and resistance to leafspots will be shared with national programs. Multi-location trials will be conducted with the goal of identifying release candidates for new varieties.


Enhancing genetic potential in West Africa

This project builds on an earlier project that genotyped groundnut germplasm using the high-density, 48K Axiom_Arachis2 SNP array. Plant breeders in Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and elsewhere now have the data from hundreds of accessions and will phenotype the lines and run single and multi-environment (GxE) analysis to evaluate core panel performance. Diversity analysis, bringing together phenotypic and genotypic data from lines across Africa will allow for a better understanding of the genetic diversity used by each breeding program in West Africa, and provide breeders with opportunities to enlarge the genetic pool of material they use as parental lines for new crosses. The same set of data will also allow genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to be run which will identify the genomic regions involved in the expression of certain traits. Accessions that perform well under specific local conditions might be considered as suitable donor lines for new crosses, or even ready to go directly into the national registration process.


Production packages for Ghana

The project aims to scale up production packages that improve peanut production and quality, evaluate peanut-cereal cropping rotations to promote increased income and food security, improve linkages among public and private sector partners along the peanut value chain and refine a risk assessment tool specific to the country.


Farmer incentives for quality Ghanaian peanuts

Groundnuts reach consumers through a complex value chain that makes it difficult to incentivize farmers to produce high-quality, low-aflatoxin nuts. This project will work with aggregators to create a system of inputs and incentives, study whether the system brings better nuts to the market and explore how these changes specifically affect female growers.


Seed coat chemical markers

The project studies the development of the seed coat of peanut and whether increasing naturally occurring biochemicals in the seed coat can increase the resistance to A. flavus, the fungus that can produce aflatoxin.


Time poverty among women

Women are the principal growers of groundnut, but those same women have many household and child-rearing obligations on their time. This project explores how those time constraints may impact whether a female farmer is able and willing to try improved practices that lead to a healthier or more plentiful crop and evaluates technologies or techniques that may better address the time limitations of women.


Peanuts for school feeding

School-aged children in Ghana primarily receive starchy cereals for their sporadic school meals. This project will develop a peanut-centered snack that fits the cost and nutritional constraints of the school program and then employ clinical trials to test whether consuming more protein-rich peanuts will improve growth and cognition.

Assessment of Breeding Programs 

Maximizing production capacity through enhancing seed production is one of the main objectives of the lab, and this project aims to aid this goal by producing sufficient breeder seeds. Researchers also are developing seeds that will overall improve the seed system partnerships to enhance each program in the targeted countries.

CSIR-CRI, Kumasi, Ghana

About Ghana

Ghana is located in western Africa along the Gulf of Guinea. English is the official language, but many local languages are spoken including Akuapem, Twi, and Asante. Ghana is roughly the same size as the US state of Oregon.


More than 31 million people live in Ghana, a country whose economy is rapidly growing. Christianity is the primary religion, followed by Islam and other traditional religions. 

Seventy-one percent of adults are literate. Poverty rates are dropping in Ghana, but large disparities remain in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions, with poverty rates being 2 to 3 times worse than the national average.


Ghana has two seasons: a wet and dry season. As a tropical climate, average temperatures in Ghana range from 21-28° C (70-82° F). Rainfall averages are from 78-216 cm per year (31-85 in).


Ghanaians typically eat a diet based on cassava, yams, maize, rice, and fruits such as plantains. Two million, or 7.5% Ghanaians struggle with food and nutrient deficiencies.

Most of the country’s groundnut production takes place in the northern regions of the country. Around 90% of farm families grow peanuts in some capacity, with very minimal purchased inputs. Peanut production averages around 1,200 Kg/Hectare, compared to the US production average of 4,500 Kg/Hectare.

Country Area Harvested Yield Production
  Acres Hectares Lb/Acre Kg/Hectare Tons Metric Tonnes
Ghana 812,828 328,940 1,108 1,242 450,640 408,814
United States 1,040,313 421,000 4,011 4,496 2,086,675 1,893,000
Table Data Source (FAOSTAT, 2013)          

Improving the yield Ghanaian farmers get from their land would help the smallholder farmers’ bottom line and provide nutritious food for malnourished children.

Local Peanut Facts

  • Main source of vegetable protein, groundnuts are eaten raw, roasted, as peanut butter, or as an ingredient in other dishes.
  • High quality cooking oilcan be made of groundnuts.
  • Groundnut hay is used for animal feed.

Peanuts & peanut butter in market, Kumasi, Ghana