35 agric extension agents schooled on climate change adaptation

Thirty-five Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) have received training on climate change adaptation and alternative livelihood to enable them to adequately support farmers in northern Ghana to adjust to climate change and its attendant issues.

The officers, drawn from 11 municipal and district assemblies in the Upper West Region, as well as the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District in the Savannah Region, were schooled on issues affecting climate change and its implications on agriculture and economy.

The training was organised by the Resilience Against Climate Change (REACH) Project, under the European Agriculture Programme (EUGAP) in Ghana.

It was to enable participants to work with farmers in their respective districts to identify alternative livelihood options that would sustain them in the face of persistent climate deterioration.

Addressing participants at the two-day workshop, at Wa, the Deputy Project Manager for REACH, Mr. Simon Kunyangna, indicated that the REACH Project was designed to enhance community resilience to climate change and also to identify alternative ways of pursuing agriculture, in order to enhance sustainable rural livelihood in the Savannah region.

He stated that REACH had identified that one of the ways to ensure that farmers developed adaptive resilience to face potential shocks of climate change was the formation of self-motivated farmer groups to support each other.

“We will need the active support and guidance of all the AEAs in the formation of the groups in order to make it more represented,  considering the fact that each community possessed unique characteristics which were best known by the officers who had worked with these communities for years,” Mr Kunyangna said.

He said the adaptation policies included, access to credit and markets, strengthening extension services as well as equal access to land and decision-making processes irrespective of one’s gender.

Mr. Kunyangna explained that aside assisting farmers to improve upon their adaptive capacities to climate change, the AEAs would focus on medium to long term goals such as, transitioning the groups into Village Savings and Loans Associations that would champion issues such as, access to credit and community labour support on farms.

“As part of efforts to aid farmers to develop livelihood options, the project would also promote agroforestry with cashew as the lead crop. REACH will from next season facilitate the acquisition of cashew seedlings by farmers in beneficiary communities to serve as alternative livelihood options in the face of dwindling climatic conditions.

“It is therefore necessary for the capacities of the AEAs to be built as they are meant to spearhead the formation and strengthening of the farmer-based groups and also step down training in the various communities,” Mr Kunyangna said.

FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA

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