Inusah Ibrahim, Gonga Yahaya, Ramatu Ibrahim, Sharatu Muntala, Bibata Yussif, Aisha Munkaila, Kande Mohammed. These are seven participants of the Chereponi Farming Project. And this is their story.
They all live in Nansoni, a small village in the Chereponi district, far north-east of Ghana. Their only source of income: The three, four, five or six fields, on which they grow millet, white and yellow corn, yams and soybeans. This is all they have. This is all they depend on to feed their family. And it’s barely enough to survive.
Sometimes it’s even hard to feed the family, so no. We don’t harvest enough to sell.
They are among the poorest of the poor. They eat what they harvest. If someone get’s sick, a bowl of corn is sold, so that the family can afford the necessary medicine. Then the food has to be rationed until the next harvest. Most of them don’t have more than 5 cedis to spend in a day, that’s 0.75 Euros. Sometimes the youth find work for a day and earn some money to support their family. But it’s not much. And it’s definitely not enough to save any money. Plowing services or fertilizer are often bought on credit and paid with a sack of corn after the harvest. But what if the harvest wasn’t good?
They survive, yes. But it’s not enough to live a good life.
The Farming Development Organization (FDO), tries to help the poor and needy. Unfortunately, I am one of them in my community, so I am happy, that FDO is willing to give me a chance to earn a living for myself.
Chereponi is situated in the far north-east of Ghana. You need three or four hours by car, to get to the next bigger city. Once a day a bus drives to Yendi and Tamale. A forgotten place. Only few NGOs find their way to Chereponi. Over 20 years ago, USAID build several dams, that guarantee the water supply of the region up to today. The grain banks they built are still in use. But not one organization focused on improving the soil quality of the fields – the primary or only source of income for so many people. To increase the amount of harvest, the soil desperately needs to be regenerated. But who has the financial means for the necessary measures?
No, we are on our own. We have not had the oportunity of working with any organization, except the Anoshe Women Group and now the FDO.
Through the Anoshe Women Project, the farmers got a chance to see that is is possible to enhance soil fertility and increase their harvest. They can actually improve their quality of live. They just need the right support to get started. They need a fair chance, so that they can earn a fair income with their work. This is why the farmers applied to participate in the Chereponi Farming Project.
I decided to participate in the project because I hope that the measures, that we will implement, will help increase the current yield. I hope to finally harvest enough to feed my family and maybe even be able to sell some produce, so that I can pay for the hospital bills of my husband and pay the school fees for my children.
Akor Munkaila, project manager and CEO of the new Farming Development Organization, talked to seven of the first 40 farmers, participating in the project. Read the full interviews.