posted by RUMNET on July 17, 2012

While driving in the country side of Northern Ghana, one often sees farmers working under the hot sun. For an average of GHc 3.00 a day, farmers endure the heat, exposure to harmful chemicals and dangerous snakes, all to harvest salvageable produce and to prepare for the next crop. This hard work is also done in the face of climate change defined by increasing temperatures, inconsistent rainfall, soil erosion and degradation.

In her report “Opportunity in Organics”, Lauren Bain comments on the current state of the agriculture sector in Ghana, concluding that the current methods of agro-education being used, essentially a blend of traditional practices such as bush burning and modern practices such as using harmful pesticides and herbicides, are unsustainable. They are also harmful to the environment and not ideal for healthy food production. Although there are many challenges in finding an effective solution, many share her belief that Ghana’s agricultural sector is in dire need of change.

The Coalition for the Advancement of Organic Farming (CAOF) presents an overview of organic farming in Ghana, specifically in the Northern Sector, as a possible alternative to negative agricultural practices that remain prevalent today.

To begin, we need to understand clearly what is meant by organic agriculture. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) defines organic agriculture as “. . . a whole system approach based upon a set of processes resulting in a sustainable ecosystem, safe food, good nutrition, animal welfare and social justice. Organic production therefore is more than a system of production that includes or excludes certain inputs.”

Why should farmers consider going organic? According to the report, organic agriculture can increase agricultural productivity while stabilizing returns, as well as incomes, by using local technologies, all without harming the environment. Economically, the local and international market for organic products has significant prospects for growth. This could lead to increased income and improved living conditions for the producers and exporters of organic produce. Other benefits would also include maintenance and building of soil fertility on land that is often threatened by degradation and erosion, as well as putting in place agricultural practices that can contribute to meaningful socio-economic and ecologically sustainable development. In addition to these benefits for the environment and farmers, there are also significant benefits for consumers who buy organic produce.

Read more Here!