More than half of Ghana’s working population are employed in agriculture with small-scale farmers producing 80% of Ghana’s agricultural production and women producing 70% of Ghana’s subsistence crops. 6 out of 10 small-scale farmers in Ghana are poor and many of these are women. Small scale producers and traditional practices such as seed saving are under threat by landgrabbing agribusinesses and GMO companies.

Friends of the Earth Ghana works with 15 communities in the Brong Ahafo Region (middle belt of Ghana) training women to adapt their subsistence farming systems to climate change. It also works with 8 communities in the Northern Region to support sustainable traditional practices and empowering women to participate in environmental governance.

These projects involve establishing seed banks, training women farmers in sustainable agriculture and agroforestry, giving technical advice and access to inputs (e.g. tree seedlings), providing food processing facilities and support and training for adapting subsistence farming systems to climate change. An integral part is also training rural women in advocacy to enable them to participate in policy dialogue and decision making on environmental issues and policy development linked to agriculture (climate change; environment).

Women in Brong Ahafo are now planting trees on their lands, they have new skills in sustainable agriculture and agroforestry and they have knowledge about climate change and how to adapt their farming systems to its impacts. In the future this should support increased productivity and diversity of food products, more food processing and improved food security. Farmers will also have increased incomes because the improved yields and wider diversity of crops will mean the women have more produce to sell and they can also add value by processing the produce. In the Upper East, the women have new skills in advocacy, so they will soon be advocating with their local government for their environmental rights and for more support with adaptation to climate change.

The majority of advice and support from Ghana’s agricultural extension workers goes to larger commercial farmers who are mainly men. This neglects the majority of small scale producers who are women. FoE Ghana’s projects focus on women farmers who benefit from gaining new knowledge in sustainable agriculture techniques and adaptation to climate change, access to water for irrigation, tree seedlings for agroforestry products, access to food processing facilities, more organised community level seed saving facilities and new skills in advocacy.

Listen to an interview with Real World Radio below, or download the MP3 (1.6 Mb) here.