Farmers in the Kolbia electoral area under the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region are engaged in Taungya farming under the auspices of the Forestry Commission of Ghana.
The farming practice, according to Mr. Agolmah, is to help the Forestry Commission reforest and also allow the farmers access to more nutrient-dense parcels of land.
Speaking on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, Johnson Agolmah, Assemblyman for Kolbia Electoral Area explained that the programmes have become beneficial for both the farmers and the Forestry Commission.
“I was able to liaise with the Forestry Commission. Our people have been farming on the same piece of land for a very long time. The population is growing and if you farm on the same piece of land year after year, the nutrient level of the land diminishes.”
“I had to write letters to them, we had to involve the chiefs and then they gave us a portion of the forest to do what we call Taungya farming. These are some of the things I have been doing with the people in agriculture,” he said.
Taungya System is a form of agroforestry system in which short-term crops are grown in the early years of the plantation of a woody perennials species to utilise the land, control weeds, reduce establishment costs, generate early income, and stimulate the development of the woody perennials species.
This is a modified term of shifting cultivation in which labour is permitted to raise a crop in an area but only side by side with the forest species planted by them. The practices consist of land preparation, tree planting, growing agricultural crops for 1 to 3 years until shade becomes dense, and repeating the cycle in a different area. Traditional Taungya consists of land preparation for tree plantation, growing agricultural crops for 1 to 3 years after the tree plantation, and moving on to another location to repeat the cycle.
Additionally, Mr. Agolmah explained that he had to assist the farmers for farmers groups. This, he said, allows them access support from organisations rather easily.
“I have tried to help them form some groups because nowadays, if you don’t have groups, you won’t get any support. So we have formed some groups and we have been able to get some support from TraideAid,” he said.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana