African Initiatives continues to work with our partner in Ghana, the Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC), on a project to support smallholder farmers, especially women. It supports farmers to develop more secure futures for themselves and their families, sow the seeds of sustainability and so work their way out of poverty. CSRC work with around 11 communities each year, across 4 districts, to enable farmers to gain better access to productive resources and land. They also help to develop more environmentally friendly and cost efficient farming methods. Women farmers in particular are supported through initiatives such as crop seed loans, the provision of water pumps for irrigation and dry season farming tools which all contribute in helping increase their own productivity. Rahinatu Karim, from Galaka community says thather village can see the difference, “Most of us can now boast of accessing fertile land forour rainy season and dry season agricultural activities.”
There is also a “Pass the Gift” programme, where small numbers of livestock are provided to female farmers, alongside feeding, housing and medication for livestock. ‘CommunityHealth Livestock Workers’ are appointed and trained for each community. When the livestock have young, these are “passed on” to other women farmers who are then able to benefit from the programme. For Rahinatu Karim, it’s brought independence “We are now blessed with at least 3 or more small ruminants each which could be sold to cater for our pressing needs without depending on our husbands.”
In order to tackle the issue of using ‘agro-chemicals’, famers are educated about the negative effects and dangers of using these harmful pesticides and chemicals and trained on how to use more traditional and simple methods such as organic farming by setting up initiatives such as ‘farmer-field schools’ and training workshops. This has been supported by District Government and local radio stations; ensuring the message is spread to othercommunities as well.
- In 2011, in collaboration with other NGO’s, a fact sheet was developed and distributed on the ‘10 best alternatives to using agro-chemicals’ reaching over 1,500 farmers in thirty communities.
- The introduction of ‘Volunteer Community Livestock Workers’ as part of the project has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of livestock that die from preventable deaths at the community level.
- Farmer field schools have been run in three communities each year benefitting around 750 farmers annually.
Elizabeth Asana began her mango nursery using the stones school children threw on the ground. Read her story here