Central Region: Farmers applaud climate smart knowledge impartation
Theresa Anderson, a farmer from Enyinase, is currently the best female farmer in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipality.
Though Ms Anderson has been a farmer all her adult life, it was not until recently that she had an encounter that changed her mode of farming and her life.
Two years ago, she was chosen to be part of a group of about 120 farmers that received training under the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) Ghana project and the impact has reflected on her farms.
The farmers in and around Dompoase in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipality in the Central Region have been equipped with know-how on climate smart farming practices.
They intermittently receive education and training given through the cultivation of demonstration farms for new varieties of maize and potatoes planted with new technologies.
The farms are part of the AICCRA Ghana project, which aims at making Ghana’s agriculture and food systems more resilient in the face of climate change.
AICCRA Ghana bolsters the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers across Ghana and supports greater food security in the country, by getting innovations developed by CGIAR and its partners off the shelves and into fields.
The AICCRA Ghana project is led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and works with local organisations including the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), University of Development Studies (UDS) and the National Agricultural Research System, with funding from the World Bank.
Ms Anderson said it had been an amazing experience for her as she practiced the knowledge she acquired with the supervision from agriculture officer.
"First you need the right seeds. It makes the difference. Then you have to plant it right. I have learnt how to prepare the land and space the crops when planting, new things that have yielded positive results and so far I am happy about the impact on my work as a farmer," she stated.
AICCRA has over the period used demonstration farms to showcase and introduce farmers to climate smart agriculture innovations, such as improving crop and seed varieties that are climate resilient.
The project has 31 demonstration farms in 22 communities across six regions. These are the Greater Accra, Central, Bono East, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
So far, the farmer field days held on the demonstration plots have reached 1,250 farmers across the 22 communities.
In the Central Region, AICCRA demonstration farms are situated in Mempeasem, Effutu and Dehyia in the Cape Coast Metropolitan Area and Dompoase and Enyinase in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipality.
Projections are that there would be reduction in food production due to the impact of climate change in the next decade.
A Senior Research Officer at the CSIR-CRI working on the project, Dr Stephen Yeboah, explained that a major staple such as maize was projected to have yield reduced by between 10-15 per cent by 2030 in the country.
This, he indicated, required the adaption of improved climate smart crop production practices to build resilience for food security.
Dr Yeboah said the efforts by AICCRA to improve the resilience of farmers to the impact of climate change was critical to their livelihoods and food security in general.
In the Central Region he said AICCRA had identified maize, cowpeas and sweet potatoes.
He explained for instance that the maize seeds being used for the demonstration were tolerant to drought, pest and diseases, have high vigour and good germination time, just as the potatoes being grown.
Dr Yeboah said it was necessary that farmers were prepared to understand good agronomic practices that would help them withstand the shocks of climate change on agriculture and food production.
A farmer, Christopher Amissah, cultivated potatoes and noted that the yields were encouraging.
“If that is how it's going to go then we are encouraged to continue to farm. It was not a bad yield at all," he affirmed.
He called for ready markets for the products to get farmers motivated to grow more.
Other farmers called for farming inputs for food production and security in the areas.