The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has held two separate dialogue meetings with farmers and officials of districts assemblies in the Brong Ahafo and Upper East Regions in Techiman and Paga respectively. The purpose of the meeting was to promote Agro-ecology farming practice through increased budgetary allocation of District Assemblies in support of sustainable Agriculture.
The meetings form part of activities under a two-year Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA)funded project titled “Agro-ecology Farming, Food Systems and Political Participation of Small Scale Farmers in Ghana”.
According to Charles Kwowe Nyaaba who is the Programmes Officer of PFAG, the need for Agro-ecology farming was based on the failure of current concept of focusing on industrial agriculture as solution to our food security challenges. He explained Agro-ecology farming practice as a situation where there is limited application of external chemical inputs. “This type of farming is environmentally friendly, have potential for poverty reduction in rural areas and provides nutrition for local people due to mixed cropping and mixed farming approach”. In that regard, a demonstration farm has been set up in both regions to provide practical training to beneficiary farmers.
According to him, the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project, the Fertilizer Subsidy Project and recent government flagship programme (“Planting for Food and Jobs”) have all failed to factor in environmental sustainability and climate change resilient and adaptation. He appealed to the local assemblies to include climate change related issues and capacity building of farmers in agro-ecology farming in their annual action plans.
Techiman dialogue meeting
The Techiman South Director of the Department of Agriculture (DoA), Mr. Maamah James expressed his willingness to join PFAG to promote agroecology farming in Techiman. He tasked PFAG members in the district to present a detailed proposal for consideration in developing the district level agriculture budget.
According to Nana Ameyaw, the Regional Focal Person for PFAG in the Brong Ahafo (B.A.) who doubles as the National Vice President of PFAG, government should focus more on small scale farmers because they feed the nation other than the large scale/commercial farmers who export their produce. He suggested that, government should nominate a representative of PFAG to the District Assembly to help promote agriculture.
He mentioned that, the doors of PFAG are always opened for farmers.
Paga dialogue meeting
Madam Janet Atimoliga, a farmer in the Kasena Nankana District, said, she has been practicing some level of Agro-ecology, where application of organic manure in her farm has increased her yield. She therefore called on her colleagues to change their farming practice in order to increase their yield.
Mr. Isaac Babia, PFAG Focal Person for Paga indicated that with agro-ecology farming, farmers could rely on other crops for survival in case of main crop failure. He therefore appealed to officers of the district assemble to help promote this concept in order to help preserve the environment.
A visit to demonstration farm
After the deliberations, the participants of the meeting enjoyed a conducted tour of PFAGs’ Agro-ecology Demonstration farms to have firsthand experience of agro-ecology concept.
PFAG is currently constructing a farm house and seed bank at the demonstration farms. The farm house will host farmers’ Credit Union and also serve as a Seed Bank to preserve seeds of economic value that are getting extinct.