Working on degraded lands for food crop production is tedious but women in Yaoman, a farming community some 30 km away from the capital, Accra, have been able to do this to sustain themselves.
Through the help of a local NGO, Integrated Development in Focus (IDF), and an agricultural specialist, the women were trained on how to reclaim small household degraded lands.
They are also able to carry out off-farming activities such as poultry, grass-cutter, rabbit and cockerel production to increase their income levels to support their families.
This land restoration project is being spearheaded in three communities by IDF.
The program has received recognition by the UNDP which has awarded the community and the NGO with the Equator Award for Sustainable Land Management in sub-Saharan Africa.
The IDF project, largely executed by some 120 women in the communities, has restored land degraded by rampant sand winning and made them once more arable for food crop production.
Beda Ahortor, a beneficiary of the program, praised the UNDP for leading the project as well as the local NGO for bringing the initiative to their doorsteps.
“The project has helped us. We thank the NGO for the program.”
The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the UNDP, is awarded biennially to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
George Ortsin, national coordinator of the project, said the initiative, which started in 2009, had been very successful.
“For now, in terms of land productivity and income to the women, it has been very successful. The next thing we are tackling is the marketing – how to market the well-packaged organic products to the markets in Accra,” he said.
In 2013, the local NGO applied for the Equator award and, out of 350 competitors, Ghana’s IDF was short-listed among the first 24 groups for the final prize.
The Ghanaian local NGO was awarded for equipping the women with
financial and organic technical resources to restore degraded lands and develop small-scale enterprises.
“We are really happy about this award,” said Benedict Amoateng, the agricultural specialist for the project.
“We didn’t know that what we are doing will get to a dream light like this,” he said.
The Equator Prize acknowledged the efforts of the NGO to improve crop yields and local incomes of women-led groups that planted three million trees and restored 350 hectares of land.
Dominic Sam, UNDP Country Director, said the project had demonstrated to the world that women could transform degraded lands into productive farms.
“By your works, we are reminded that decertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible and that key tools to achieving these lie in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels,” he said.
The group has targeted 100 hectares of land to put it under sustainable land development. Enditem