Stakeholders in agriculture at a forum organised in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region have advocated agro-ecological farming practices as the surest way to increasing agriculture food production, whilst protecting the environment.
They advocated issues of agro-ecology to be mainstreamed into the national development policies and the Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs) of the various assemblies.
The forum was organised by the Ghana National Sesame Business Farmers’ Association (GNSBFA) in partnership with Organisation for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS), an environment focused organisation as part of the second phase implementation of the Joint Action for Farmers’ Organisations in West Africa (JAFOWA) project.
The project is being implemented in northern Ghana with the mission of ensuring households’ food security and income, sustainable agriculture, human and soil health.
The agro-ecology advocacy project inception meeting further sought to influence policy decision makers to ensure sustainable agriculture through agro-ecological farming practices, particularly budgetary allocation to agro-ecological farming practices.
Mr Bismarck Nortey, Project Officer, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), indicated that issues of agro-ecology over the years have been neglected and attributed the cause to lack or limited knowledge on the significance of innovation to achieving sustainable farming without damaging the environment.
The Project Officer explained that agro-ecology was a driver to attain increased sustained agriculture in the country and therefore called on policy makers, particularly the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to mainstream the issues of agro-ecological farming practices into their MTDPs.
While calling on government to integrate agro-ecological concepts into the country’s agriculture production system, he said the practice would enhance biodiversity conservation and improve rural economies.
Dr Bernard My-Issah, Bolgatanga Municipal Director of Agriculture explained that the continuous use of chemical fertilisers for farming pollutes the environment as well as make the soil to lose its fertility and there was the need to adopt sustainable agriculture practices.
He disclosed that agro-ecological farming was being practised years before the introduction of agro-chemical fertilisers and the yields was higher than what was being harvest using the chemical fertilisers.
Dr My-Issah revealed that research had shown that organic farming does not only increase yields, less expensive, build the soil structure, the produce gotten from the organic farming last longer without getting spoilt unlike inorganic farming produce.
Whilst advising farmers to make a paradigm shift from the current system of inorganic farming to agro-ecological farming, the director urged stakeholders to join the campaign for the mainstreaming of agro-ecological farming into national policies and ensure enough budgetary allocation.