Climate change in Ghana is projected to affect its vital resources – water, energy supplies, crop production and food security. Agriculture stands at the crossroad, it has to produce more food for a growing world population, source decent income for farmers while adapting climate change, protecting and conserving biodiversity and reducing emission and pollution. This requires the agriculture sector to become more productive and sustainable.
With the five northern regions of Ghana most vulnerable to climate change, so the southern part of the country is not spared of this landscape changes. There is currently evidence in the occurrence of climate changes with temperature increase, unpredictable rainfall patterns. The country’s vulnerability is largely due to over-dependence on the production of crops that are sensitive to climate change and lack of agricultural diversification.
To help reduce and mitigate the negative impact of climate change in the Kwaebibirem Municipality of the Eastern region, a Learning Platform Day dubbed “Landscape Change: Farmers’ Innovative Strategies Towards Building Resilience” was held for key players and stakeholders in the agriculture sector in the municipality at the Assembly Hall in Akyem – Kade.
The programme which was organized by the University of Amsterdam and University of Energy and Natural Resources – Sunyani had smallholder farmers, agro-processors, researcher scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Oil Palm Research Institute, Kusi,(CSIR – OPRI, Kusi), Forestry Commission, District Cocoa Unit, Kade, Seredipalm Company Limited, the Department of Agriculture and the Municipal Assembly to discuss innovative strategies in building a resilience landscape for continue crop production.
Research student and facilitator from the University of Amsterdam, Madam, Ataa – Asantewaa Kakrah explained that continue crop production is depleting the rich lands and the environment and farmers have stake in addressing the issues of climate change. And farmers have innovative strategies to help avert the adverse effects of climate change. “Farmers are key stakeholders in the agriculture sector in the country and therefore we must all re-visit our indigenous knowledge to preserve our environment for future” – she bemoans.
Research Scientist from the CSIR – Oil Palm Research Institute, Dr. William Opare Danso, technically took farmers present through the practical steps in oil palm production for an increase yield without harming the environment. “Let’s us grow our crops especially oil palm trees sustainably by adopting all the good agronomic practice approved by the oil palm research institute for an increase” – he said. On his part the Deputy Director of CSIR – OPRI, Dr. Daniel Agyei – Dwarko admonished farmers in the municipality to always engage the institute to better their farm productions.
Plant disease management expert, Madam Emmanuella Lekete – Lawson from the CSIR – OPRI explains to farmers and other participant of an invaded disease in oil palm – Ganoderma Basal Stem Rot in Ghana on the identification and the possible ways to avoid the spread. “I would entreat all of us to be on the watch and observe our field all the time for any sign of this deadly disease in the oil palm plantation and report to the institute for prompt attention” – it is a deadly disease and has no cure now, so we must avoid its spread – she cautioned.
The management of the municipal assembly also pledged their support for help smallholder farmers in the areas to access services that would help them grow sustainable and have an impact in their standard of living.
On cocoa agroforestry and methods to alleviate climate change, the District Cocoa Officer Mr. Isaac Bentum explained to participants on the various packages such as hand pollination, improved pruning methods, distribution of motorized slasher to help farmers stop the use of weedicides for weed control in cocoa farms. There is also available service for climate smart cocoa field development that farmers can call for – Mr. Bentum echoed. With agroforestry system as an alternative to alleviate climate change and its negative effect, Serendipalm Company Limited a pioneer in cocoa and oil palm agroforestry demonstrated on how the project is making impact in the rural communities and the prospect in mitigating climate change.
Smallholder farmers present shared their views on the environmental changes that they have observed in the past 10 – 20 years ago in the loss of forest covers, soil fertility, invasion of new weeds, pests and diseases and loss of balance in the ecosystem service. Deserving farmers were awarded with farm implements for their innovations in exploring and developing new ways of re-engineering the land for continue crop production, re-use of agricultural waste materials for food production and organic manure for job creation and food security in their communities.
Participants were charged to be advocates of innovative strategies towards mitigating climate change in Ghana.
To climax the learning session, the Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. Anthony Nartey Narh reproved the farmers to make the office of the department of agriculture and the extension agents in their various communities a friend and visit them all the time for knowledge on the modern methods of farming and grow sustainably.
The program was sponsored with funds from the Agro-Food Brokers of the year 2018 award received by Kwabena Asubonteng, from the Food and Business Knowledge Platform.