Canadian gov’t improves skills of small-holder farmers

•    A smallholder farmer working on her farm.

• A smallholder farmer working on her farm.

More than 5,600 poor smallholder farmers in the Upper West Region are working with the Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC) and the Association of Church-based Development (ACDEP), to increase and diversify their production.

The 19-million Canadian dollar Resilient and Sustainable Livelihood Transformation (RESULT) project would benefit about 70 per cent women and widows, from 58 communities in the Lawra and Jirapa districts to improve on their sources of income, and establish new income opportunities including aquaculture to enhance their livelihoods.

The Canadian government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, is financing the six years project, which would improve the skills and knowledge of vulnerable farmers and increase their access to inputs, improved technology, financial services and markets.

Madam Gail Motsi, CFTC’s Project Director of RESULT in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the project would integrate gender equality and environmental management in areas of operation.

Its activities would also be integrated into medium term and annual work plans and budgets of the district assemblies, as part of the main-streaming district assembly ownership and sustainability process.

Mr. Malex Alebikiya, ACDEP Executive Director, who also spoke to the GNA said the project had increased the use of certified seeds and improved and sustainable agronomic practices by both male and female farmers in the two districts.

He said construction of livestock houses, vaccination of animals, access to crop and animal extension services as well as maize and groundnut yields had increased and the quality had improved.

Mr. Alebikiya said there had been a drastic reduction rate in goats and sheep deaths, and brought about literacy skills improvement among farmers who hitherto had no formal education.

Dry season gardening among the farmers had also increased, while access to regular weather forecasts, agricultural produce pricing information and buyers enhanced.

The ACDEP Director said through the creation of 57 village savings and loans associations, saving and loans had improved while alternative income generating activities such as soap-making, shea butter processing, ground processing and beekeeping have also improved.

Mr. Alebikiya said delivery of community-based gender equality, nutrition education and environmental management campaigns had benefited the people and improved on their living standards.

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