Nature based solutions make economic and environmental sense for farmers in Ghana
Organic pesticides, waste-based fertilisers and forest regeneration are just a few of the green initiatives being employed in Ghana to boost farming communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change. Such Nature Based Solutions work in harmony with the environment and encourage rejuvenation of ecosystems while reducing farmer’s dependence on costly store-bought fertilisers.
Ghana has seen a significant reduction in the tropical rainforest cover with the expansion of farming, cocoa production and commercial logging. But as farming has intensified, soil quality and fertility has fallen making it harder for farmers to make a living from the land.
Globally, Ghana is reported to have experienced the highest rise in primary forest loss (60 percent) between 2017 and 2018. The Government of Ghana, has identified factors such as the impact of climate change, growing land degradation, low investments in agriculture and low agricultural productivity as some of the main reasons many young men decide to migrate irregularly.
The Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana, known as the GrEEn Project, is a four-year initiative that’s taking a whole of society approach to tackling the intertwined challenges of living with climate change, prioritising ‘green’ or environmentally harmonious development solutions while at the same time reducing push factors that fuel irregular migration. Funded by the European Union, the GrEEn Project is providing GrEEn jobs and generating business opportunities in the Ashanti and Western Regions of Ghana.
Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and community-level resilience building are central to the GrEEn Project, which is rolling out Phase II of the Local Climate Adaptive Living (LoCAL) mechanism.
Since the inception of the GrEEn Project in 2019, UNCDF has worked with local communities through a bottom-up, participatory approach to deploy natural climate change solutions that works best for the communities themselves.
In 2020, together with GrEEn Project implementing partner SOS Children Villages Ghana, UNCDF carried out training sessions for over 200 local farmers ad GrEEn Project Cash for Work beneficiaries on the production of organic pesticides which have been proven to be less toxic and more environmentally friendly. Following the success of this initiative, in 2022, UNCDF together with SOS Children’s Villages Ghana once again trained another group of 200 farmers in two separate communities on the production of organic manure using farm waste and animal waste.
The goal of this exercise was to empower farmers to effectively manage the waste from their farms thus reducing the presence of persistent organic pollutants in the environment as well as reduce their dependence on inorganic fertilizers which are known to degrade farmlands over time.
Nana Kofi Aboagye II who doubles as Semanhyiahene of Offinso traditional council, one of the communities in which the exercise was undertaken expressed delight at the training and noted that the use of locally produced organic fertilizers would revive the potency of soil and help repair degraded farm lands of farmers in the community.
UNCDF has also taken keen interest in helping Ghana restore some of its forest covers which is being lost at an alarming rate. In 2021 and 2022, UNCDF once again working under the GrEEn Project collaborated together with local and traditional authorities as well as community members to plant almost 3,000 individual tree seedlings in the Ashanti and Western Regions of Ghana.
Thanks to engagement at the local level, specific seedlings were selected based on the vegetation of the communities to ensure the growth and survival of the trees. It is hoped that as a result of this activity some forest cover is preserved and naturally replenishes leading eventually to the reduction in greenhouse gases.
UNCDF continues to carry out regular sensitization and awareness creation activities about climate change especially among vulnerable groups while deploying natural climate solutions to mitigate the effect climate change is having on local communities.
The Year 2 GrEEn Progress report is available here; Standards and procedures for the Cash for Work approach are available in the Cash for Work Guidelines