Climate change adaptation, poverty and women subsistence farmers
Women farmers ensure the food security of their families and communities because they produce 70% of the subsistence crops grown in Ghana that meet our daily food needs. Yet climate change is having diabolical impacts on the productivity of their farms, and on their livelihoods and incomes. The Brong Ahafo Region, once the bread basket of Ghana, is being severely affected by encroachment of the savannah as it moves southwards, and by more frequent and increasingly severe weather events such as droughts and floods. as a result, women farmers are faced with declining agricultural yields, increased desertification and deepening poverty and hunger.
To address some of these problems, FoE-Ghana is implementing a project entitled Climate change adaptation, poverty & women subsistence farmers, supported by the UK Department for International Development (DfID). We are helping around 1,000 women farmers to improve the sustainability of their farming systems and help them adapt to climate change. This will contribute to improving their farm productivity and also the food security of their families and communities. Their exess farm produce can also be sold for an income, or processed for longer-term storage at the new food processing and storage centres. The water boreholes we are providing will improve communities’ access to potable water, improving their health and welfare.
- Raising awareness among women farmers about climate change so they know how it will affect their farming systems and how they can adapt to its impacts
- Encouraging women farmers to share their own innovations they use to adapt to the changing climates so that other woman can benefit from their skills
- Practical on-farm demonstrations including: sharing farmers’ own innovations; minimum tillage; agroforestry and increased crop diversity; cover crops; green manuring; composting; use of drought-, heat- and flood- tolerant seeds; rainwater harvesting and storage; and Integrated Soil Fertility Management
- Introducing different tree varieties including fruits, nuts and moringa, (the latter can be processed into a very nutritious food supplement to help improve the health and nutrition of local communities)
- Constructing food processing and storage centres with processing equipment including solar dryers, which the women will help to construct
- Establishing seed banks for storage of farmers’ indigenous seeds. These will provide insurance against future crop failures as well as save germplasm for future seed breeding
- Constructing demonstration rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems that can be replicated by households and communities
- Drilling water boreholes and pumps for fresh clean potable water
- Establishing Water Management Committees and training them to manage the water boreholes and pumps
- Establishing a communications strategy and platform at the community level to feedback experiences and learning to Ghana’s policymakers so they can integrate successful practical climate change adaptation strategies into Ghana’s agriculture and climate change policies.