The Alliance of Biodiversity International, in collaboration with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has implemented an agricultural development project to help farmers get access to critical information needed to improve their work.
The project, known as the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA), seeks to make climate information services and climate-smart agriculture more accessible to small scale farmers across Africa.
Funded by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, the project is supported by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR – CRI), Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), Esoko and the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA).
A team from the various institutions visited the Tuba Irrigation Farms today (March 23, 2022) to get first-hand information on the impact of climate change on the farm, as well as to identify the necessary interventions needed to improve farming activities.
The National Coordinator of the Ghana Cluster, AICCRA Project, Mustapha Alasan Dalaa, said the project covered about 33 communities in six regions in the country: Upper East and West regions, Northern, Bono East, Greater Accra and Central regions.
The three-year project, he said began last year and was geared towards limiting the use of inorganic chemicals on farmlands while encouraging bio-friendly products.
“By the end of the three years, we are looking at targeting two million farmers, direct and indirectly,” Mr Dalaa said.
The West Africa Regional Coordinator for CABI, Dr Victor Attuquaye Clottey, mentioned that farmers at the Tuba Irrigation Farms planted crops all year round and as a result, were plagued with a lot of pests.
That, he said, led to an increased usage of pesticides, most of which were dangerous to the health of the farmers as well as the final consumer of the farm’s produce.
The pesticides, he said, also killed some of the insects that helped to maintain soil balance.
“Apart from that, we are also demonstrating to them other methods of attracting these pests off the field and killing them,” Dr Clottey said stating that using sticky traps and pheromone traps would help trap pests on the farms.
A research scientist at the CSIR-CRI, Dr Stephen Yeboah, said the visit was meant to find solutions to fertilizer, pest and climate change challenges that the farmers faced.
The project, he said, with the help of Esoko, provided farmers with daily weather updates to help them coordinate their activities and prevent wastage of resources, thus reducing cost.
“When you look at climate change, we have made arrangements for the farmers to receive weather information on their phones so they know whether it would rain or not,” he said.
These updates were in the form of voice messages in various languages to help those who couldn’t read.
Dr Yeboah added that the project also provided farmers with information to help them market for the produce.
At the farm, some farmers who had undergone training took the team through various presentations on interventions that they had adopted since participating in the project.
They included farmyard manure management, environmental friendly pest and disease management, market and climate information services and social inclusiveness.
A farmer, Elizabeth Akaba, who spoke on gender issues, said the AICCRA had created a separate group for women farmers with its own leadership to address their specific needs.
The project, she added, had initiated a dialogue series focused on the needs of women and the youth in the Tuba farming community.