The Global Greengrants Fund, a charitable foundation that provides small grants to grassroots environmental causes around the world, has earmarked $ 4,100 toward the promotion of organic farming in the Tano South Municipality of the Ahafo region.
The one-year project is being implemented by the Youth Initiative for Sustainable Environment (YISE) and Women Voice for Sustainable Agriculture.
Some of the beneficiary communities are Techimantia, Dwomo, Derma, Tweapease, Nyamebeye, Akobro and their surrounding areas.
In this regard, YISE has been holding a series of sensitization programmes in these communities to keep farmers abreast of the health and environmental benefits of organic farming.
This forms part of the climate change awareness and training for farmers on resilience agricultural practices to enhance environmental sustainability.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of one of such awareness creation programmes at Techimantia, the Executive Director of YISE, Mr. David Oteng Adarkwa, explained that inappropriate use of agro-chemicals has dire consequences on the health of the farmer, the consuming public and the environment as a whole.
“One may not immediately realise the adverse effects of wrong use of pesticides, or herbicides or any other chemical, but gradually it could accumulate in one’s body overtime and result in all kinds of diseases”, he said.
He therefore charged farmers to resort to organic methods of farming owing to its numerous benefits to the consuming public as well as the environment as a whole.
“Pesticides are an important tool in modern agriculture, but the risks and benefits of using pesticides must be considered before an application takes place”, Mr. Oteng Adarkwa stated.
According to him, the Youth Initiative for Sustainable Environment (YISE), a non-profit-making organisation, will continue to ensure environmental sustainability for both the present and future generations.
“YISE mainly targets the youth and farmers. We also mobilize and empower the youth to adopt sustainable agricultural practices that mitigate the impacts of climate change and other issues relating to the environment in Ghana,” he said.
For his part, the Financial Secretary of YISE, Evans Awuni explained the health and economic benefits of organic farming to the participants and asked them to seek further information from the district office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), especially Agric Extension Officers.
He said organic agriculture enhances biological diversity, increases soil biological activity, maintain long-term soil fertility and promotes the healthy use of the soil, water and air as well as minimizes all forms of pollution that may arise out of agricultural practices.
To maintain soil fertility at all times, Mr. Awuni encouraged the farmers to practice, intercropping, composting, mulching, organic pest management as well as green manuring, among several others.
Mr. Cosmos Gyabaah, the Secretary of the NGO, explained that agro-chemicals are synthetic chemicals used to enhance the growth of crops and boost their yield, their continuous use of agro-chemicals in a particular area for a long period of time has dire consequences for the soil, water-bodies, biodiversity, pollinators and climatic conditions.
He said the continuous application of these chemicals over a long period can deplete the soil quality and fertility leading to reduced crop yields and ultimately requiring more agro-chemicals.
“The chemicals can also seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater or be carried away by run-off water into nearby water-bodies. This can cause serious harm to the aquatic ecosystem and potentially impact negatively on human lives”, Mr. Gyabaah further added.