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Agro-Ecology in the Service of the Community

Three Ghanaian villages go green

Since three years, the WAN has launched community gardening projects in some participating countries. These projects are aimed at improving livelihoods in rural areas, where children and young people often leave because of exploitation or simply in search of better prospects. This year in Ghana, these projects have been the turning point of agro-ecology, to empower small farmers cope in the face of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Poverty and isolation in rural West Africa remain major causes of the departure of children and youth migration. They leave at younger and younger ages, undertaking risky voyages or even in situations of exploitation or trafficking.

In order to prevent such departures , the ISS decided in 2010 to establish community gardening projects to improve the livelihoods and incomes of the rural population, focusing on the villages where children leave in the highest numbers.

One of the lessons that emerged from these pilot projects was the need to reduce the dependence of small farmers on external inputs, namely fertilizers , herbicides and other chemical pesticides. This year,in Ghana, our projects have definitely turned the corner in favour agro-ecology.

Therefore, our agronomist provides not only advice and practical demonstrations for market gardening, but also training on how to make compost , organic fertilizers and herbal pesticides. He also provides local support to ensure that project participants feel supported in this process.

Three villages participated in the first "green" project and judging from their smiles , this approach seems to please the participants.  However, this should not allow us to  forget that many challenges remain . In order to reduce risky migration, a system of surplus vegetable resale needs to be put in place with a portion of the revenue being used to support reintegration projects for children and youth from the villages.

In any case the results achieved in this project are very encouraging :

  1. 60 participants are directly involved in the project
  2. On average, each participant benefits from garden produce from approximately 400m2
  3. The diversity of products has been strongly encouraged : the three villages produce many different varieties of vegetables, and also some cereals.
  4. It is estimated that the project already supports "indirectly" more than 300 children and young people (about 5 children and young people per family)

Reference: http://www.resao.org/en/three_ghanaian_villages_go_green

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