About 27,000 farmers from Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions have benefited from Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP) funded by Global Environment Facility and World Bank to increase agriculture production and forest conservation.
The SLWMP, which is currently operating in 12 districts of the three northern regions, has trained farmers on land and water management practices such as intercropping, crop rotating, afforestation, mix cropping, folder banks, bush fire prevention among others in the savanna ecological zone.
Mr Kingly Kwaku Amoaku, a staff from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the project is aimed at sensitizing farmers in the northern ecological zone on the sustainable land and water management practices to restore soil fertility, prevent erosion, restoring soil moisture and prevention of bushfire.
He said the 10 year programme which started in 2011 is expected to end in 2015 but it was extended to 2018 and had another extension to 2020 due to additional funding with a target of 20,000 farmers but has exceeded the target as over 27,000 farmers have been captured under the project.
He said the project is currently operating in 211 communities in the three northern regions out of 240 communities targeted and that 36 communities would be brought on board this year to hit the target.
Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister for Environment, Science and Innovation, whiles on a visit to the mango and cashew plantation farms at Naahaa and Kulkpong communities in the Wa East District, expressed satisfaction with the performance of farmers under the project.
He said he was in the region to inspect the World Bank funded project on behalf of Ministry of Environment Science and Innovation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Forestry Commission, World Life Division and the Enviro mental Protection Agency who are the coordinating agencies.
The Minister said the project fits well into some of the government flagship programmes of ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, ‘One Village One Dam’ and ‘One District One Factory’ and that, the agencies would coordinate to make the project a success.
He said “in all the places we visited, the concerns raised by the people were factories, water and CHIPS compounds”.
Madam Hawa Dominaa, one of the beneficiaries could not hide her excitement during the visit saying the project has reduced bushfires in the area because they have trained her on ways to protect their farms against bushfires and their group has a motor king that fetched water for tree planting amongst others.