Farmers in six districts have received farm inputs and technical support from World Vision Ghana (WVG) in response to the COVID-19, rainfall distribution changes and temperature rise due to climate change.
Mr Maxwell Amedi, the Food Security and Resilience Technical Manager of WVG, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the beneficiary farmers, numbering about 1,200, were selected from the Garu, Gushegu, Jirapa, Saboba, Zeibilla, and Karaga districts.
Working in partnership with the district offices of the Department of Agriculture, the initiative, under the World Vision Food Security and Resilience Technical Programme, seeks to help households adapt to climate change and its related effects and bounce back post-COVID-19.
Mr Amedi said: “Assessment has shown that droughts are a major challenge for northern and coastal savannah's ecological zone with increasing significance for the transitional zone.”
“Climate variability in terms of fluctuating weather conditions increases the vulnerability of the bulk of the population who depend on natural resource-based activities for their living”.
He said the farmers had been supplied with drought tolerant, disease resistant, and short duration variety of seeds, fertilizer and agro-chemicals.
They had also been educated on improved agronomic practices including climate-smart agricultural practices, conservation agriculture, land preparation techniques (oil and water conservation), row planting, appropriate and right time of fertilizer application and timely weed control.
“Already we are arming them with harvest and post-harvest measures to increase the shelf life of produce and maximise profit,” Mr Amedi said.
“Vegetable farmers are getting education on cleaning, sorting, grading produce like tomatoes and the use of local materials like ash and sawdust to store them. Value addition and diversification of farm produce have also not been left out.”
Mr Rexford Bugre, the World Vision Cluster Manager for Bawku West, said aside climate issues, the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the operations of farmers and ushered them into a ‘new normal’.
“This is the reason why WVG resolved to empower them through education to adapt to the protocols to keep safe while going about their activities to produce food for human consumption,” he said.
“We are teaching them to wear facemask, cover their nose and mouth when sneezing and discard the tissue afterward. Farmers are also receiving education on how to properly wash their hands regularly with soap under running water and sanitize with alcohol-based sanitizer.”
Mr Bugre said the country imported commodities including tomatoes and onions from neighbouring countries and since the COVID-19 had led to the closure of borders, the need to support farmers to produce more to ensure food security was paramount.
“With the closure of borders, movement of goods and services are affected. We should, therefore, produce more to take care of us.” he said.