Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Bolgatanga, Dec 2, GNA – Stakeholders in agriculture at a forum in Bolgatanga, have advocated agro-ecological farming practices as the best measure to increasing and sustaining food production, while protecting the environment.
They called for agro-ecology to be mainstreamed into national development policies and the Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs) of the 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.
It was part of the second phase implementation of the Joint Action for Farmers’ Organisations in West Africa (JAFOWA) project.
The project is implemented in northern Ghana with a mission of ensuring households’ food security and income, sustainable agriculture, human and soil health.
The agro-ecology advocacy project inception meeting also sought to influence policy makers to ensure sustainable agriculture through agro-ecological farming practices, particularly budgetary allocation to agro-ecological farming practices.
Mr Bismarck Nortey, the Project Officer of PFAG, said agro-ecology had over the years been neglected due to lack of interest and limited knowledge on the significance of innovation to achieving sustainable farming without damaging the environment.
He explained that it was a driver to attain increased sustained agriculture in Ghana and therefore called on policy makers, particularly the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to mainstream agro-ecological farming practices into their MTDPs.
He called on government to integrate agro-ecological concepts into the country’s agriculture production system, and said the practice would enhance biodiversity conservation and improve rural economies.
Dr Bernard My-Issah, the Bolgatanga Municipal Director of Agriculture explained that the continuous use of chemical fertilizers for farming polluted the environment and caused the soil to lose its fertility.
He said there was the need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices.
He said agro-ecological farming was practised years before the introduction of agro-chemical fertilizers and that yielded higher and more nutritious foods than what was produced using chemical fertilizers.
He said research showed that organic farming increased yields, less expensive, built the soil structure, and the produce had a longer shelf life.
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 mainstreaming agro-ecological farming into national policies and ensure enough budgetary allocation.