Climate-smart, One Health innovation for farmers in central Ghana
AICCRA Ghana field days introduce farmers in the Adomano community to improved crop varieties and bundles of technology that incorporate innovations in climate-smart agriculture with 'One Health' principles.
Together with partners such as Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture, AICCRA teams organized field days for farmers on demonstration plots to showcase innovations bundled to be climate-smart while promoting 'One Health'.
So far, 13 field days have reached 775 farmers, 321 of whom are female.
“We’ve seen your maize varieties and we have seen ours. These days, the rains do not come as expected, so if we continue to stick to our maize varieties, we will suffer,” says Wungbree Wumbe, a lead farmer from Adomano in the Kintampo North District of the Bono East Region of Ghana.
At 48 years old and with no formal education, Wungbree has been farming since he was 6 years old. He lives in Adomano - a small village located 30 km away from Kintampo. He has two wives and sixteen children.
Wungbree grows maize, yam and groundnuts in Adomano. He was one of more than 100 farmers in Adomano who attended the farmer field day event organized by AICCRA Ghana to introduce farmers in the community to climate-smart agriculture and 'One Health' innovations for maize and yam.
Confronted with the reality of erratic rainfall patterns and low yields, farmers in Adomano and other communities in the Kintampo North District are opening their farms to CSA One-Health innovations. By adopting these innovations, farmers are hoping to increase their farm yields and income.
“I was very happy when the district extension officer informed me that AICCRA is coming to establish a demonstration field in Adomano”
AICCRA’s intervention in Adomano
In Adomano, AICCRA is demonstrating and promoting the use of improved stress (drought, pest and disease) tolerant and early maturing maize varieties such as Denbea, Suhudoo, Honampa, Wang-dataa, and Abontem.
On the demonstration field, farmers planted the improved maize varieties alongside Aburohoma, a farmer preferred landrace variety. This was to help farmers evaluate the performance of improved maize varieties against the landrace variety, which is popular amongst the farmers.
During the field day, as farmers inspected the demonstration fields, they observed that the improved varieties introduced by AICCRA were tolerant to various stresses, matured early and were even ready for harvest sooner compared to the farmer variety which was still immature although the rains had ceased.
In the same community, AICCRA is demonstrating the benefits of using bundles of climate-smart agriculture and One Health technologies in yam production such as the use of yam minisetts for increased yields, planting yams on ridges for efficient land use and higher plant population, and the application of organic soil amendments to manage soil borne pathogens and improve tuber health.
Farmers were also introduced to the use of trellises as a minimum staking option.
The benefits of these technologies were compared with farmer practices such as planting yams on mounds, which lead to less plant population, non-application of soil amendments leading to high incidence of tuber damage, and the excessive use of stakes, which contributes to deforestation.
“When we came to this community for the needs assessment, we noticed that the maize varieties farmers are growing are not tolerant to diseases, pest and droughts. We decided to support the farmers with six different stress tolerant maize varieties developed by the CSIR-Crops Research Institute and the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute,” said Dr Joseph Adomako of the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CRI-CSIR).
“We also saw high incidences of yam tuber damage due to nematodes and soil arthropods attack, so we taught farmers to prepare and apply neem leaf powder to the soil before planting to reduce populations of nematodes and other soil borne pathogens in the soil.”
He added, "We advised farmers to plant yams on ridges because mounds require larger land area, accommodates lower plant population and requires more sticks to stake the yam fields."
Feedback from the farmers
"We have all seen that the improved maize varieties from AICCRA mature faster than the varieties we are used to. For the yams, we have been taught to protect the tubers and the soil from pest and diseases. If we adopt the things AICCRA has taught us, we will earn profit from our hard work," said Wungbree Wumbe.
According to Layaab Philomina, a female farmer, planting yams in ridges will help farmers to produce more tuber of yams.
"I have learned that we can plant yams in lines (ridges) to get more yams. For the maize, our variety matures late and suffers when the rains stop. We will make more money when we plant the new varieties introduced by AICCRA,"
AICCRA promoting climate-smart and One Health interventions in Ghana
In Ghana, the International Institute of Agriculture and partners have established 31 demonstration plots in 22 communities across Greater Accra, Central, Northern, Bono East, Upper East and Upper East regions to evaluate and promote the adoption of crop-specific climate-smart innovations, pest and disease management practices, and integrated soil fertility management practices for increased yields and improved livelihood for farmers.
AICCRA Ghana’s Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) innovations are based on a selection process that prioritize crops (maize, cowpea, yam, sweet potato, and vegetables - specifically tomato) in each of the six administrative regions.
Together with partners including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), AICCRA Ghana organizes farmer field day events on the demonstration plots in the various communities to showcase and introduce farmers to these CSA-One Health innovations.
13 of these events have been held so far, reaching 775 (321 female) farmers.
Reginald Ofori Kyere, Communications Specialist, AICCRA Ghana
Dr Joseph Adomako, Research scientist, CRI-CSIR, Ghana