Business News of 2014-06-15

Integrate trees with crops - Farmers advised

Farmers and the Youth in Agriculture, have been advised to integrate trees with crops, as agro-forestry technology for sustainable farming and food security.

Mr George Ansah Akomeah, a Programme Officer for the Trees for the Future, a non-governmental organization, gave the advice at a forum with trainee-farmers at the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) in the Ejisu Juaben District at the weekend.

He said it was important for farmers to practise agro-forestry, by integrating fast-growing multi-purpose trees with crops, in order to improve soil fertility and reduce deforestation.

Mr Akomeah said: “It had been noted that farming contributes to deforestation and desertification due to the unsustainable practices used by farmers, hence the need for them to plant trees with crops, an alternative solution to support small farmers improve food security.

“As a result, the Tree for the Future, will support 5,000 farmers in Ghana to establish forest garden.” Mr Samuel Owusu-Takyi, Director of KITA, said the practising of agro-forestry technologies, improve soil fertility and enable farmers to increase yields, such as nuts, vegetables and seeds.

“Farmers can be able to justify their income also through mixed cropping technology, and alternative livelihoods system, such as beekeeping, mushroom production, grass-cutter and snails rearing, that are forest-related agro-enterprises,” he said.

Mr Owusu-Takyi assured the people that KITA will provide expertise and partner Tree for the Future, to support farmers to promote forest garden.

Mr Yaw Adom, Chairman of the Krapa Farmers’s Association, whose farmers benefited from the programme, expressed appreciation to KITA and the Trees for the Future, for the training, and gave the assurance that his group would inculcate the technology into the rest of the farmers in the communities.