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Network to promote Ghana’s agro-forestry launched

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Ghana Agro-forestry Network, an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGOs) has been launched at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, to bring together civil society organisations (CSOs) to promote agro-forestry, tree planting, and sustainable land management practices.

The Network on the theme: “Agro-forestry, tree planting and sustainable land management for livelihood empowerment, food security, and climate change adaptation,” was also aimed to reduce the impact of climate change at the grassroots level in Ghana.

The programme, which brought together community leaders, CSOs, farmers, researchers, youth associations was organised by Youth Volunteers for the Environment (YVE) Ghana and the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) with support from Trees for the Future.

Mr Lovans Owusu-Takyi, a lecturer at KITA, expressed regret that small-holder farmers were known to contribute significantly to climate change in Ghana through unsustainable farming practices such as shifting cultivation, bush burning, deforestation and over utilisation of chemicals that kills soil organisms.

“The practice also destroys soil structure and reduces soil fertility, forcing the search of fertile soil to cultivate their crops after depleting their initial lands,” he emphasised.

He said with land ownership problems, farmers are no longer able to practice shifting cultivation and most of them are leaving the profession in search for alternative livelihood, which in turn affects food security.

Mr Owusu-Takyi said the adoption of agro-forestry ecologically sustainable farming, practices such as integrating trees with crops through alley cropping, food woodlots, windbreaks, life fencing and crop rotation have the potential to ensure that farmers are able to integrate the planting of beneficial trees with growing food crops.

He called for the integration of agro-forestry in all climate change programmes with focus on improving the livelihoods of small-holder farmers who are perceived as the poorest to adapt to climate change.

Mr Croix Thompson, African and Caribbean Programme Manager for Tree for the Future in United States, underscored the importance of agro-forestry for improving the livelihoods of small-holder farmers and reduce poverty.

He emphasised that the integration of fast growing multi-purpose and nitrogen fixing trees have the potential to improve soil fertility on farm animals and restore degraded lands as well as provide alternative income.

Mr Wisdom Koffi Adjawlo, Assistant Programme Coordinator of YVE urged the youth to mobilise to undertake tree planting to restore degraded lands and ensure environmental sustainability.

Source: GNA

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