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Project Activity Report - August 14, 2022

Field Activity Report

Garden Demonstration Walk Through

Given the core objective of PFG as a driver of regenerative or ecologically based agriculture model in Ghana, has for July and August 2022 emphasized promulgating the basic underlying principles of regenerative farming principle to a cross-section of the youth engaging in vegetable production in Ashanti Bekwai and its environments. These communities include but are not limited to Adumasa, Mensinase, and Esumaja, Boaman among others.

Cabbage production is noted as the major mainstay of the local economy, therefore, to enhance its performance coupled with safeguarding the health of consumers, within the months under review, PFG engaged these youth on its 30 acres demonstration farm on ecologically-based approaches to vegetable production. Here, the youth were directly engaged for 3 days on recommended manure application procedures, decomposition processes, manuring and planting depths, soil moisture maintenance with minimal irrigation onsite and how to nurse specific seeds.

Conversely, PFG acknowledging the erratic rainfall pattern in the region, partly due to climate change also saw the need to train these youth in climate change resilient farming techniques such as bed preparation techniques, seeding and top-dressing techniques among others to promote sustainable jobs while creating a congenial environment for farming within the context of climate change and high cost of agriculture inputs.

As a cross-cutting intervention, PFG again trained the beneficiaries in sucker multiplication skills. Beneficiaries at the end of the training session were asked to utilize the acquired skills in ecologically-based farming to plant a sucker. The exercise yielded positive results as all the youth were able to apply the skills on site after a couple of minutes assigned to the task. Implying that, onsite and hands-on demonstration and teaching is the way forward to drive the youth into agribusiness and to bridge the high unemployment gap in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as practical actions drive their interest.

These initiatives by the PFG project are geared toward sustaining the local economy through innovative agriculture technologies and sustainable jobs for the youth while promoting food and nutritional security within their households.

The PFG project, also mindful of maternal health and the nutritional gaps that exist in most households across rural and periurban areas of our operational areas, took the months under review to extend its vegetable demonstration farm onsite for the production of adequate seedlings and seeds for supply to women across the Ashanti region and beyond. In all, five additional varieties of vegetable seeds have been planted on climate resilient beds for onward supply to specific women including pregnant women after assessment.

Different varieties of legumes including eggplants and carrots have so far been planted for yield performance assessment using ecologically-based regenerative practices before supplying to the target women groups for planting in their backyard to augment and supplement their household nutritional and income needs.

Under any possible funding opportunity or input support, PFG is willing to extend this initiative to the entire Ashanti Bekwai and its surrounding communities and beyond to encourage and promote nutritional security among maternal youth, while taking full-time vegetable production as a livelihood.

Some improved carrots understudy at the demonstration site

In congruent with the PFG project's core objective as being conscious of consumers' health, took the opportunity this month to create awareness among some women oil palm processing groups about regenerative or ecologically-based farming. Awareness about the limited use of inorganic chemicals including herbicides was emphasized among these women groups. They were encouraged to adopt the best sustainable farming and agronomic practices to safeguard consumers' health including the soil and themselves.

It is worth noting that women play a crucial role within the smallholder farming system across the Ashanti region and other parts of Ghana, and are commonly responsible for the production of food crops, especially, where the farming system includes both food and cash crops. Therefore, the PFG project, recognizing the contribution of these farmer groups in agricultural practices and techniques as an important source of knowledge for the transition to sustainable agricultural intensification, has incorporated training systems into its operation. Trainings seeks to factor indigenous knowledge and scientific approaches to finding solutions to smallholder farmers’ problems.

Fertilization of citrus plantation with chicken droppings

As part of PFG strategy to encourage sustainable agriculture and to promote the concept of a regenerative agriculture model among small-holder farmers, the month under review also saw the procurement of about 300 bags of 50kg chicken droppings to fertilize the 30-acre demonstration farm. This initiative is in line with PFG core objective, and to demonstrate to small-holder farmers including the youth the need to continuously sustain land after a while of cropping. Following the excessive use of herbicides by the previous owner of the PFG 30 acres land, the land has been woefully depleted and characterized by hard land crust and limiting microbial activity. It is against the backdrop that these organic fertilizers have been procured to help regenerate the land to sustain production.

The application of these organic fertilizers will serve as a learning platform for small-holder farmers. The consequences of continuous use of herbicides will dominate the discussion during the application day. For PFG, every problem is a tool to drive change. Therefore, smallholder farmers across the area will benefit from this training free of charge. It is expected that by the end of the application, over 30 small-holder farmers comprising 60% of women will benefit from that exercise, which we believe will bring a positive change in their farming practices.

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