The Zal-Taaba Organic Farmers’ Association (ZOFA) has held a day’s workshop for the Forests and Farm Producer Organisations (FFPOs) in the Upper East Region, on key policies being implemented to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The workshop, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was part of the implementation of the Forests and Farm Facility (FFF) phase II of the FAO in the Savannah Ecological Zone and was to enable the FFPOs to have access to programmes and opportunities of the various Ministries, Department, and Agencies to act as primary agents of change for climate-resilient landscapes and improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
Mr Philip Ayamba, the Programme Coordinator, ZOFA, said the focus of the FFF was on strengthening the FFPOs for sustained agriculture practices and reduction of climate change impact and that led to the establishment of the Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers (GhaFFaP).
The FFF project aims to build the capacity of FFPOs and smallholder farmers to adopt best agriculture practices that are environmentally friendly, address climate change impact leading to sustainable forests and agriculture activities in general, he added.
Mr Ayamba noted that the workshop was aimed at creating a platform for the various MDAs to explain current government policies and programmes being implemented and how the smallholder farmers could access the support to increase production.
He noted that ZOFA coordinates the activities of the FFPOs to have adequate information on local relevant agencies’ policies and opportunities as well as build their capacities on the activities of the Village Savings and Loans Association initiative for access to financial services for financial inclusion.
Mr Charles Akwotiga, the Bawku Municipal Director of Agriculture, said his outfit through the support of government had implemented cashew planting as one of the agriculture strategies to support farmers and about 104,500 cashew seedlings were ready for distribution this year as efforts to address the impact of climate change and increase livelihoods.
The Director said about 2000 seedlings had been given out free of charge under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) initiative while about 6,500 seedlings were being nursed.
He said the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project (GPSNP) had supported the department to produce about 98,000 cashew seedlings that were also ready and called on farmers to access them.
Mr Akwotiga said about 3,500 cashew seedlings under the PERD initiative were distributed to farmers in 2019 and the department was planting eight hectares of cashew plantation.
He encouraged farmers and individuals to cultivate the habit of tree planting around their houses, farms and water bodies to serve as windbreaks, prevent soil erosion as well as provide food and source of income for families.
“The idea is to help farmers make money through the seeds and fruits and conserve the environment because our area is very harsh and the cashew tree is very resistant to the weather, so I encourage everybody to cultivate the habit of tree planting and come for as many as you want, it is free,” he added.