About two million Ghanaian smallholder farmers are to benefit from a climate smart agriculture initiative that preserves soil, water, plant, animal and human health.
The project, which would end in 2024, focuses on farmers’ ability to adopt technologies and practices for maize, yam, sweet potato, cowpea and other vegetable production, to improve the quality of yields and reduce the cost of production.
Farmers would be introduced to practices that would reduce the use of harmful pesticides, farmyard manure management, climate information, as well as market information.
Currently, about 300 smallholder farmers including youth and 57 women at Tuba, a suburb of Accra are benefiting from the project, which is being replicated in Central, Bono East, Savannah, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions.
The US$60 million World Bank grant project is being implemented by the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) in five other countries.
The countries are Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zambia.
They would be provided with improved seeds and be educated on the use of bio pesticides produced from natural materials from animals, plants, and bacteria with no residual effects on crops produced.
Mr Mustapha Alasan Dalaa, the Project Coordinator for AICCRA explained that the project would provide climate information to the farmers and smart innovations that would help increase productivity.
He said that the farmers, through information and interventions, would be more resilient to the effects of climate change in their agricultural practices.
“This project also has a component called ‘One health,’ that seeks to use bio control measures to reduce the effects of climate change on human, environment, and the plant as well.”
Mr Victor Attuquaye Clottey, the Regional Representative, West Africa, Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) – a partner to the project- said the initiative was to turn research into impact driven agriculture.
He said to ensure sustainability of the project, there would be knowledge transfer to farmers to enable them also to train and share the information and the smart agricultural practices with other farmers.
Mrs Faustina Obeng Adomah, Gender and Social Inclusion Lead, AICCRA Ghana, noted that the project would make it possible for women to access land, a major challenge facing many female farmers.
She said the project would build the capacities of the women to become efficient farmers, and traders, and indicated that the cultural challenges that undermined smallholder farmers would be solved through support interventions.
Mad Adiza Tetteh, one of the beneficiaries of the project expressed concern over the cost of production and was hopeful that they would be assisted to overcome those challenges.
She also decried the lack of access to funding and sustainable irrigations system.
Mad Adiza, was, however, confident that the information they had been provided on the project would lessen their challenges and contribute more to food production in the country.
By Francis Ntow, GNA