WUZDA Ghana has provided training to its vegetable farmer groups in the six communities it is implementing the ‘Farm-Promoting Urban Organic Waste for Food and Livelihood Security’, ‘FaPUOWaFLiS’ Project.
The training, facilitated by Professor at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Ing. Professor Abdul Ganiyu Shaibu, is aimed at re-awakening the spirit of ownership among community beneficiaries to the ‘FaPUOWaFLiS’ Project and how they can take advantage of it to make gains through their vegetables cultivation.
Five communities in the northern region, Manguli, Dunyin and Datoyili in the Tamale Metropolis, Wovogu and Wovoguma in the Sagnarigu Municipality all together have over eighty vegetable farmers, both men and women, who have received support under the project to help them commercialize their farming activities.
The sixth community, Bunglung in the Savelugu Municipality, which is going through the process of initialization, with about twenty farmers, is yet to receive this training.
Professor Abdul Ganiyu Shaibu drew attention of the farmers to why there is the need for them to view their activities beyond just the level of ‘farming to feed the family’, but should attach some business mindset to it to ensure their yields improve and are marketable to raise their economic livelihoods.
According to Professor Ganiyu, Some communities in neighboring countries to Ghana have succeeded in using only dry season farming to feed their community members, as well as becoming suppliers of some vegetables to many parts of Ghana, as they rely heavily on the drip irrigation technology.
He cited the example of Burkina Faso where most of the tomatoes Ghanaians consume come from, where according to him, the land is not even fertile as compared to Ghana’s.
Professor Abdul Ganiyu said through the drip irrigation system, one lateral on a farm field can contain many crops since the system helps in checking spacing and water wastage.
He showed the farmers through pictures how the drip irrigation system could be used to cultivate any crop apart from vegetables.
As part of the project, there is the training of Para – Agric Extension Agents through the use of mobile phone technology, where two people are chosen from each group to represent the entire group, as they receive audio messages on information regarding how to engage in their farming practices with a touch of best practice and business mindedness.
The Media and Communication Officer of WUZDA Ghana, Shaibu Awudu took the farmers through the need why the project is taking advantage of technology to provide them the training.
He showed them through pictures how a platform WUZDA Ghana owns will be sending them audio information in the form of calls regarding each of the steps involved in the farming value chain.
This he said is necessary for convenience sake, since they can be working on their farms and listening to the information on their mobile phones.
These messages according to Shaibu, will also lead the farmers on information on how to preserve and package their produce after harvesting, to enable it attract good market, as poor preservation and packaging both have separate tendencies to drive away buyers and potential ones.
As a follow up and to cement the foundation for the training of the Para – Agric Extension Agents, the two representatives of each farmer group in the communities were invited to the office of WUZDA Ghana and given new mobile phones with newly registered SIM Cards to aid them receive the messages without any interruptions from other callers.
The farmers, both on the field where Professor Ganiyu Shaibu delivered the training, as well as at the offices of WUZDA Ghana where they received further training on communication and the mobile phone, thanked WUZDA Ghana for the initiative and eye opening sessions which according to them, will aid them turn to the best practice in farming, henceforth.
Some of them who commented on the trainings indicated that they have been akin to the old ways of doing things, which do not really yield much positive results, but the trainings and approaches WUZDA Ghana has introduced, are those that they can see clearly, would help reduce drastically, the poverty levels among the farmer population in the rural communities.