Upon return home to Ghana, Abraham promptly laid the groundwork for his own organization called "the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA)". Our recent Indiegogo campaign enabled MESA to send a $400 SPRIG grant to support Abraham's new NGO to reduce pesticide use, connect women rice farmers to markets, and diversify income for nomadic farming communities in some of the poorest regions of Ghana.
In Abraham's own words:
“Currently I am working with 36 farmer groups in 11 communities totaling 206 members in the West Mamprusi district of Ghana. These communities are among the most deprived regions in Ghana in terms of access to basic amenities (health care, water, schools and others) and yet this is a typical farming community (about 98% of population being farmers). I decided to work in this region because it is one of the regions where they have higher numbers of nomadic farmers and yet have adopted very inhumane ways of farming by the use of chemicals (I must say I was shocked to see banned chemicals such as DDT still been used here even for fishing!).
I travelled on a canoe to this farming community where they are popularly known for their intense use of pesticides. There is a central point where farmers in the area all converge with their knapsacks for repair and maintenance by chemical distributors. During the visit I discovered these chemical distributors were there solely for profit. In addition to the absence of proper education on pesticide usage, safety measures or proper handling of these pesticides, no protective gear is sold to reduce the risk of hazards associated with pesticide exposure. The Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) had the privilege to talk to these groups of farmers on organic production and also the dangers of misuse of pesticides was also brought to light. Subsequently a ¼ acre maize demonstration field has been established and 206 farmers are involved in the management of the field together with technical advice from CSA. Next planting season farmers are expected to replicate these practices learnt via the on farm learning on their own fields and more farmers are encouraged to join to the train.
CSA is building women’s capacity in more sustainable,
cost-effective rice production due to the relative expensive production cost of some major staple foods here in Ghana. Highly yielding varieties such as Togo Marshal was planted on a 16m*40m and managed by these women groups with supervision from CSA. Upon gaining knowledge, women farmers will be linked to financial institutions to access credit to produce rice and will be directly sold in CSA store for better markets for their labour.
CSA is also helping diversify farmers’ sources of income. Exotic breeds of chicken have been introduced to interested farmers. So far, two training sessions have been held to teach farmers on the profitability and production of the poultry industry that is lacking in our rural Ghanaian farms. Farmers are beginning to see the importance of diversifying their income sources and have shown great interest in the idea been championed by CSA. These chickens are barely 3 weeks old at the time of writing this post. They will be kept for a period of 2 months by which time they have will acclimatize to the local conditions here and will be distributed to farmers and these farmers will serve as out growers for the project.“