A total of 35 Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) are undergoing a two-day training workshop in Wa to build their capacities to champion the formation of Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs) and Agro-forestry in their communities.
The 35 AEAs were selected from 12 Districts, including the 11 Districts of the Upper West Region and the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District in the Savannah Region.
The European Union Resilience Against Climate Change (EU- REACH) Project, which is providing the training, is also expected to support the AEAs after the training for them to undertake the formation/strengthening of FBOs and Agro-forestry in their various communities.
Addressing participants at the opening of the two-day training programme in Wa, Mr Simon Kunyangna, the Deputy Project Manager, noted that rural livelihoods in Northern Ghana were facing increasing consequences of climate variability and environmental degradation.
He said the REACH Project was designed to enhance community adaptation and mitigation to climate change to sustain rural livelihoods in the Savannah ecosystem of Ghana.
“One of the ways of ensuring that the adaptive capacities of farmers are built to stand the potential shocks of the consequences of climate change is the formation and sustaining self-motivated farmer groups,” he said.
Mr Kunyangna indicated that the REACH Project was intended to facilitate the formation of these groups with the active support and guidance of AEAs with a focus on the specific characteristics of each community.
“The immediate goal envisaged for the groups is to facilitate a training that would help members to improve upon their adaptive capacities to climate change whilst focusing on the medium to the long-term transition of these groups into Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs),” the Deputy Project Manager said.
This approach, according to him, would promote ownership among group members while making them self-sustainable.
Mr Kunyagna noted that other benefits such as bulk marketing, training on good agricultural practices, access to credit through the share-out system of VSLAs and community labour support on farms, among others were also expected to accrue to the groups beyond the life cycle of the project.
As part of the drive to aid farmers to develop alternative livelihood opinions, Mr Kunyangna said the project would be promoting agro-forestry with cashew as the lead crop.
He said from the next production, the project would facilitate the acquisition of cashew seedlings by farmers in participating communities, stressing that the project also planned to strengthen Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) on degraded lands.