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CEAL Promotes Sustainable Farming, Clean Cooking Practices in Rural Ghana

The Centre for Ecological Agriculture and Livelihoods (CEAL) is proposing the adoption of organic farming practices and the use of clean cooking stoves by smallholder farmers and households in rural Ghana.

According to Issifu Sulemana Jobila, Executive Director at CEAL, the organic farming concept which relies solely on animal droppings and other organic waste as well as the use of neem extracts in pests control is a time-tested one which if adopted fully by farmers, would safeguard the environment from further degradation and negative climate change effects.

He also indicated that, the high rate of heart related diseases amongst women and children which have been attributed to the use of poor cooking stoves which emits a lot of smoke during cooking would reduce drastically if many women use clean or modern cooking stoves which produce excessive heat enough to cook for a long period of time.

Speaking in an interview with Savannahnewsonline.com during a day’s workshop organized by CEAL for some 35 smallholder farmers including women at Walewale in the West Mamprusi Municipality in the North East Region, Mr. Jobila said “Let’s adopt the practice of organic farming business. The droppings of the animals we rear alongside crop farming can be used to fertilize our farms. Don’t use weedicides when you can control everything manually. Apply pesticides only when there are pests. Organic farming is more beneficial compared to inorganic farming which relies on chemicals.

“Also, the use of cooking stoves which produce excessive smoke is not good for our women and children. We have modern cooking stoves which don’t require plenty charcoal or firewood. These modern stoves don’t produce excessive smoke compared to the old type of stoves. The use of the old stoves is one of the main reasons why many women are suffering from heart related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, eye problems among others”, Mr. Jobila pointed out.

The workshop sought to stimulate communities and key stakeholders to come out with sustainable innovative solutions and actions that can increase farmers’ resilience during drought and also ensuring safe and clean energy sources for household cooking in rural Ghana amidst climate change impacts.

At the end of the workshop, the participants became more aware of the consequences associated with deforestation, bush burning, frequent and excessive use of chemical fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides among others.

The workshop was supported by Han Seidel Foundation (HSF), a German based foundation, working to promote good governance, economic growth and environmental sustainability among vulnerable communities.

Generally, more than 90 percent of rural Ghanaians depend on agriculture as their main livelihood. Drought resulting from unreliable rainfall pattern undermines farmers’ ability to produce enough to feed their households. In a small consultative meeting with ten famers comprising five males and five females ahead of the workshop, seasonal drought and dry land degradation were among those identified as the most challenging issues confronting farmers in a village called Katabanawa.

With the felling and burning of trees for agricultural and constructional purposes on the rise, soils are losing their fertility with a corresponding reduction in crop yield. Again, over 90 percent of these rural households depend on unsafe household cooking technologies with the major source of fuel for cooking being firewood further increasing the Green House Gas emissions with increasing climate change related disasters, temperatures and unreliable rainfall.

By SavannahNewsOnline.Com/Joseph Ziem

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