The factor of time in times of climate change

Time plays a major role in agriculture – climate change is exacerbating the time factor. What does this mean for our project in northern Ghana? And what can we do?

 

Workshop zu Kalk-Applikation Mai 2021, ©Sabab Lou

Lime application workshop in May 2021, ©Sabab Lou

Normally, in the far northeast of Ghana, in the Chereponi district, there is a kind of spring rain in April. This is the starting signal for the planting season. Tractors everywhere then plow the sodden fields. This was also the plan for our Chereponi Farming Project. But it remained with a few drops. Our cultivators were not able to loosen the concrete-hard soil enough for the harrow to work in the mixture of lime and organic fertilizer. What was left for us was to wait. Waiting for the rain.

The time window is getting smaller

 

Finally, the plow had to be brought in to help start the field cultivation. But even this progressed only with difficulty and in a time-consuming manner. For our large-scale farming project, this is a major risk factor; for the small farmers, it is a cause for concern, because the rainy season does not automatically lengthen after a late start. Already two years in a row the time windows are decreasing due to climate change, and it can be assumed that they will continuously become smaller.

On June 3, the time finally came: rain. Joy and worry at the same time, because how should we now plow all 540 fields in the remaining short time? Together with the project team, we decided to hire two more tractors to prepare the fields for sowing corn, soybeans and sesame seeds as quickly as possible.

The classic plow hardly gets through the soil, ©Sabab Lou

What can we do?

 

The already disadvantaged people did not cause climate change – but the effects hit them much harder! They are all working with the time of the rains, in a shortened window of opportunity, farmers are pushing their limits. With no guarantee that they will reap the harvest they crave.

What can we do? We strengthen the cooperative and with it we can face the aggravated situation and try to catch up. Joining forces, exploiting synergies and acting in concert are our approaches to countering the effects of climate change – we call it climate injustice. This is what we are working on together. 

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