The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation (ADDRO), a faith-based organisation, has distributed about 2,000 seedlings to smallholder farmers in the Upper East Region to grow as part of efforts to mitigate challenges of climate change and improve agriculture productivity.
The seedlings, of different kinds of tree species, including mango, cashew, moringa, albizia, kapok, Mahogany and umbrella, among others and distributed to smallholder farmers from Bolgatanga Municipality, Bawku West, Talensi and Bongo Districts to plant and nurture.
The exercise formed part of the Northern Ghana Climate Resilience Programme (NGCRP) being funded by the Episcopal Relief and Development, a United States of America-based organization that aimed to ensure environmental sustainability, food security and climate resilient communities.
Speaking to some smallholder farmers at Amogorebisi in the Bolgatanga Municipality, Mr Ebenezer Alumire Ndebilla, the NGCRP Programme Coordinator, ADDRO, explained that the NGCRP project aimed at ensuring food security and livelihood support, economic empowerment for smallholder farmers and environmental protection against the effects of climate change.
He said apart from supporting farmers with farm inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizer and best agronomic practices, and empowering them to engage in compost production to reduce the usage of chemical fertilizers, ADDRO with support from its partners annually nurses and distributes seedlings, including economic trees to farmers to grow.
He said the practice of tree planting was not only part of regreening strategies to help restore degraded landscapes and forest reserves but to encourage farmers to cultivate the habit of tree growing to help protect the environment.
Mr Ndebilla indicated that in the era of climate change challenges, it was imperative for farmers, especially the vulnerable smallholders, to be resilient to enable them to withstand the challenges and increase agriculture production.
“The importance of trees is enormous because apart from providing shade, and oxygen, serve as windbreaks, medicine, and woodlots for roofing, the trees also provide food like the mango and moringa and protect the soil from erosion and the topsoil nutrients from being washed away,” he said.
Mr Ndebilla noted that the few tree species available were being cut down for various purposes, including housing, industrial and agricultural purposes, without replacement and that was having a toll on food production.
He said, “That is why, it has become imperative that as an NGO that is seeking to help in sustaining our environment, we help our farmers plant more trees so that the environment can be more protected and we can have better life and future.”
The Programme Coordinator indicated that the smallholder farmers had also been introduced to a village savings and loans initiative dubbed, “saving with education” which enabled the farmers, especially the women to expand their farms and businesses.
Mr Samuel Azure, the Assemblyman for the Amogorebisi Electoral area, lauded the efforts of ADDRO and its partners for supporting smallholder farmers in the area over the years and appealed to ADDRO and other development partners to help address water scarcity in the area.
By Anthony Adongo Apubeo