The newly created Western North Region is one of the food baskets of Ghana, as it is noted for producing food crops such as maize, yam, cassava, plantain, rice and cocoyam among others.
But, climate change is having a negative effect on the farming activities in the region with farm yields declining at a faster pace and post-harvest loses becoming a norm.
This was disclosed by a 45-year-old disable farmer, Kwaku Afful, who was recently voted as the chairman of the Multi stakeholder platform for (Research for Development and Innovation Agriculture and Learning (ReDIAL) project in Sefwi Wiawso
The main drivers of the climate in the region are illegal logging, bush burning, bad farming practices and urbanization.
Mr Afful said “climate change will kill us if government, NGO’s and philanthropists don’t come to our aid”.
He was however positive that the ReDIAL project, a European Union (EU) funded project whose overall goal is to improve food security and nutrition and livelihoods of smallholder farmers, would help solve the many challenges confronting farming in the regions.
The ReDIAL project
The ReDIAL project is part of the EU initiative on Climate-relevant Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (and food systems) in developing countries – DeSIRA. In Ghana, the project is being implemented by a consortium of partners, Friends of Nation, Tropenbos Ghana, FRNR-KNUST, SESI Technologies and SAYeTECH and seeks to contribute to transformation and innovation in agriculture and food systems through action research, application of innovative technologies, and organization of farmers and multi-stakeholder platforms.
The project is being implemented in the following five (5) districts/municipalities: Yendi Municipal of the Northern Region, Techiman Municipal of the Bono East Region, Ejura-Sekyeredumase Municipal of the Ashanti Region, Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western North Region, Kwahu Afram Plains North District of the Eastern Region.
To achieve the objective of the ReDIAL project, there is the need to establish multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms with the aim to bring together relevant stakeholders with a shared goal to discuss barriers and interests to create mutual understanding and brainstorm a shared course of action towards a productive goal. These actors can facilitate consensus building through collective identification of challenges, recognition of shared goals and interests, and creation of solution pathways.
The initial engagements for the establishment of the platforms were held with key stakeholders in the five project zones in February 2021.
Representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), planning offices, community development offices, gender desk and vulnerability group officers, identifiable non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society organizations (CSOs) implementing agriculture-related interventions, traditional authorities, farmers and community representatives were all participants contributing on various themes of the project.
According to Mr Afful, he has absolute faith in the ideals of the ReDIAL project and would work together with the team in making sure that the platform succeeds.
On his part, the District Director of Agric Mr. Joseph Otoo was excited about the target group of the project and indicated his willingness to support the project to succeed.
Daniel Kofi Abu, the Project Manager of Tropenbos Ghana who facilitated the programme, tasked the platform to take keen interest in promoting the general welfare of farmers and advised the newly inaugurated executives to be mindful of their conduct as any negative behaviour may affect the fortunes of the project.
The maiden meeting of the platform is scheduled for the ending of June 2021 as the platform agreed to have quarterly meetings.