The effect of unleashed climate change has presented a considerable challenge to the socio-economic development of Ghana where rain-fed agriculture provides livelihoods to millions of households.
The environmental dilemma has dire implications for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially those relating to poverty reduction and food security.
To reverse the trend, the Alliance of Biodiversity International, in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, implemented an agricultural development project to help more than 100 farmers in the central region to access essential information needed to improvement in their work.
The project, known as Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA), aims to make climate information services and climate-smart agriculture more accessible to smallholder farmers across Africa. for optimal health outcomes for people, animals and plants.
Funded by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), the project is supported by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR – CRI), the Center for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), Esoko and the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA).
The three-year GHC6 million project, which began in 2021, aims to limit the use of inorganic chemicals on farmland while encouraging environmentally friendly products.
The project covered approximately 22 communities, 12 districts and 31 demonstration sites in the Upper East and West, Northern, Bono East, Greater Accra and Central Regions.
In the central region, AICCRA has secured demonstration sites at Enyinase and Dompoase in the municipality of Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem and at Efutu and Dahia in the metropolis of Cape Coast to train farmers to successfully implement one-health agriculture and climate-smart agriculture projects. .
AICCRA has also engaged the public in awareness campaigns to support new business models that engage women and youth-led businesses and climate resilience to maintain national food security.
Ghana’s maize production now stands at just over three million tonnes a year, with 1.7 metric tonnes per hectare as the average yield, but this could rise to over 15 million metric tonnes with the new seed.
Explaining the rationale for the project during a farm visit to Dompoase, Dr. Stephen Yeboah, Principal Investigator at CSIR, said the beneficiary farmers had undergone a three-month training on planting various maize varieties. and potatoes using modern agronomic practices.
Varieties of yellow corn include; Abontem, Suhudoo, Honampa and doribea.
They were also in onions and potatoes while the soil was treated with liquid neem extract to prevent weevils and fungal infestations.
In addition, farmers attended presentations on their adopted interventions, including farmyard manure management, ecological pest and disease management, market and climate information services, and social inclusion.
According to him, the farmers have built their capacity by finding solutions to the challenges of fertilizers, pests and climate change and, with the help of Esoko, have coordinated their activities to avoid waste of resources and reduce costs.
Arrangements had also been made for farmers to receive weather information in different languages on their phones to help them plan.
A beneficiary farmer, Nana Afua Simewuah, Queen Mother of Dompoase, told the Ghana News Agency that improved seeds were important to increase yields and ensure food security, adequate nutrition and prosperity not only for smallholders. agricultural but for the whole population.
She said that increasing the quality of seeds could significantly increase the yield potential of the crop and is therefore one of the most economical and effective inputs for agricultural development.
Other beneficiaries called the intervention timely, especially at a time when demand for maize continues to outstrip supply, impacting prices.
“The variety performed well in all soil types and even performed better in acidic soil with outstanding nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). It is also tolerant to Striga, the most dangerous corn weed.
“In fact, it is the best option for commercial and small-scale farming because the high yield potential is guaranteed once planted,” the farmers observed.
Mr. Ebo Appiah, Municipal Managing Director of KEEA, hailed the initiative as the surest way to strengthen the livelihoods of poor farmers across the country and support greater food security by making agriculture innovations smarter to the face. to the climate accessible to farmers on the shelves and in the fields.
He said the project would link existing local, regional and international expertise to build the technical, institutional and human capacity of Ghanaians to improve their livelihoods.