Promoting climate-resilient agriculture and food security through organic and agroecology farming within the Bale traditional area buffer zone of the Black Volta Basin
Promoting climate-resilient agriculture and food security through organic and agroecology farming within the Bale traditional area buffer zone of the Black Volta Basin
The Problem Statement
The Bale community land and forest reserve are degrading at a speedy rate due to unsustainable land management practices, wildfires and uncontrolled harvesting of trees for firewood and charcoal production. Farming practices continues to rely upon land, because there is no viable alternative livelihood activity where people would engage themselves. Again, indiscriminate bush burning has become rampant in the traditional area where people burn the bushes with impunity and these actions affect the soil negatively and increase soil erosion which reduces farm outputs and extinction of wild life, destroying the ecosystem and destruction of economic facilities such as the electricity wooden poles retarding the economic fortunes of the District.

Animals especially those from the Fulani heads men also over-grazed the lands because there is no any other grazing fields. This overgrazing does not allow soil to regenerate and regain its loss nutrients to increase crop production but results in decreases in annual crop yields. Ultimately, there is high level of food insecurity among the people resulting in malnourished children, high levels of hunger among people who could not afford three square meals a day, many people especially the youth are leaving the community to seek for non-existing jobs down south, encouraging early marriages and promiscuity especially among young girls to collect dowry for the upkeep of households and to enable them live a day at a time. The youth see farming unattractive due to lack of tractor services and farm inputs and access to credit is difficult hence lack of business opportunities.

Project Rationale
The population of Bole District of the Northern Region of Ghana is 61,593 persons in 10,160 households. The occupation of 59.6% of people is crop, fishery, animal farming or related activities (GSS, 2014a). These activities include peasant and small scale trading in foodstuff such as maize, beans, rice and other grains, sand winning, fishing along the Black Volta, sheanut processing, small scale mining activities (Galamsey) and petty trading such as provision stores(MoFEP, 2012). Reports from national level surveys indicate widespread poverty and child malnutrition. About 48,905 people (79.4%) are poor and the depth of poverty is 38.1%(GSS, 2015). Households with heads that are primarily into agriculture are the most poor (GSS, 2014b). The prevalence of chronic and acute child malnutrition in the Northern Region are 20 and 33% respectively..

Poverty and malnutrition are outcomes of low yields and low remunerative returns that farmers in the Bole district get from their farms and other agro activities. Reduced soil fertility, climate change(low rains), loss of forest cover and biodiversity, and a lack of knowledge about improved and appropriate sustainable farming practices form the network of events leading to continually declining low yields. Knowledge of proper storage and marketing of produce is also lacking hence an increase in post-harvest losses and a low market prices for produce. Trees are cut down mainly for fuel wood and charcoal and also to make space for farming. The recent increase in illegal mining (galamsey) has also led to an increase in the felling of tress in the area. The completion of the Bole- Damago- Fulfulso road is expected to open access to markets in Tamale. This represents a potential threat to biodiversity in Bole district because new markets for fuel wood and charcoal are now easily accessible. Therefore alternative ways of earning livelihoods or sustainable forest management practices need to be promoted. Again the lack of alternative sources of income coupled with a fear of post-harvest loses forces farmers to sell their produce immediately after harvest only to buy them later at higher prices (Hjelm & Dasori, 2012). For this reason alternative sources of income are warranted. Since the land is the largest resource available, it holds a potential to alleviate poverty and improve nutrition if restored and sustainably managed.
The whole project is inline the government’s strategy under the forest and wildlife policy 5.2.1 which includes building capacities of communities to enhance their participation in forest and wildlife conservation (MLNR, 2012)
These efforts support Ghana Social Opportunity Project (GSOP) which has earmarked 45,000 Ghana cedis for afforestation and combating bush fires (MoFEP, 2012).

The project is in line with the OP6, programme which has aligned its operational strategies to the GEF 20/20 Strategy, UNDP’s Strategic Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (2014-2017), the 2013 Ghana National Climate Change Policy and Action Plan, the 2011 Forest and Wildlife Policy and Master Plan, National Climate-smart Agriculture and Food Security Action Plan and the National Strategic Energy Plan (2006-2020

Project Objectives and Expected Results
Objectives of the project
The development objective of the project is to contribute to sustainable land management in the Bale traditional Area through capacity building of farmers on innovative strategies for sustainable land management, exposure of farmers to sustainable agriculture practices, and promoting/supporting sustainable livelihoods.

The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

a) To increase the knowledge and skills of 50 households farmers groups through capacity building in the to set up of Agroforestry farms; Combine forestry/ farming; Livelihoods;Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and wrong use of chemicals on their farms;

b) To promote sustainable agricultural practices among farmers in Bale to enable them restore the 50 ha degraded lands through integrated natural regeneration establishment and enrichment of community based agro-forestry and Wildfires management;

c) To support Livelihoods of 100 women in Bale in sheabutter processing and 15 men in beekeeping and linking them to markets .

d) To promote and sustain innovative strategies of 6 women VSLA groups through re-orietation and training for increased impact in Bale.

Problems to be addressed through the project

1. Rampant tree felling leading to loss of forests and tree cover
2. Lack of alternative livelihoods in the wake of low yields and food insecurity
3. Lack of knowledge and technologies on climate smart farming practices and efficient use of fuel wood that reduces pressure of forests
4. Inefficient use of wood as fuel for cooking

Target Beneficiaries
The project will directly benefit Bale farming community in the Bole District of the Northern Region. This is expected to cover about 50 households and an average household size of six (8) resulting in a total of about 160 farmers direct beneficiaries and 120 women sheabutter processers and their families. Total direct beneficiaries 280 .Majority (about 60%) of the beneficiaries are expected to be women. Priority will be given to women and the youth in particular. Indirect beneficiaries of the project are estimated to be about 850 rural men and women including the youth.

Expected Results
i) Increased knowledge and skills of 50 households farmers groups through capacity building to set up of Agroforestry farms; combine forestry/ farming; Livelihoods; Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and wrong use of chemicals on their farms;

ii) Target communities trained in land resource management, forest and wildlife management, water resource management, bush fire management and biodiversity management;

iii) At least 100 women taking advantage of livelihoods opportunity options in sheabutter processing and men in beekeeping and access to ready markets .

1.4 Description of Project Activities
1.4.1 .1 Project Outputs and Planned Activities.
Project Output 1: (i) 20 Households farmers organized in groups and re- oriented. and given capacity building in the following areas: set up of Agroforestry farms; Combine forestry/ farming; einforce VSLA; Train communities in wrong use of chemicals on their farms; Provide tractor services and seed maize to 20 households.

Planned Activities: ,Re- orient existing women and men groups to be more effective in their leadership roles and responsibilities Train 50 farmers champions in climate smart agriculture Establish 20 has for households in Agro Forestry on farms of indigenous farmers
In order to protect the surface soil from annual gully erosion, the project will support the indigenous farmers from the Area to establish 20 acres agro forestry on their farms using maize, Cashew, and other nitrogen fixing plants. The idea is to protect soils erosion and provide economic value to the farmers as well and so the moringa and mango plants would be encouraged for the activity. The moringa plants would reduce malnutrition among children and increase incomes among farmers. Resource persons would come from EPA, MOFA, FSD and CRIS. Establish50,000 seedling capacity community nursery/ or 2 bags cashew seeds a bowl per farmer to plant on his own.
A community nursery of 50,000 seedling/ or supply 2 bags cashew nuts to 20 households under the project by the community groups to supply seedlings to all households involved in the project. A group of 5 champion farmers would be trained as nursery managers to look after the nursery. The nursery will generate additional income for the project from the sale of fruit seedlings. The project will assist local level entrepreneurs with training materials, simple tools and equipment to operate their own nurseries to produce the needed planting materials. The project would support the introduction of improved planting materials. The activity will be done with resource persons from EPA, MOFA and FSD.

Project Output 2:
50 farmers from households received training and supported to identify innovative strategies, approaches and models to link trade and livelihoods to sustainably manage land.

Planned Activities: Facilitate the formation of sustainable and land management committee of champion farmers 20 in Bale community.
To ensure a successful implementation of the project and a total ownership of the project by the people of the Area, The committee would be trained and empowered to organize periodic community fora to promote environmental awareness, change attitudes and behaviors of the people to address use of small resouces for maximum benefit in farming environmental problems. The committee would organize at least one community fora the benefit of each household to introduce innovative strategies, approaches and models in sustainable land management to the people. Resources persons would come from EPA and FSD

Project Output 3:
20 indigenous farmers households supported to invest in small business enterprises, shebutter processing, beekeeping and markets access to sustain the businesses.

Planned activities: Form and Re -orient 100 women in VSLA in Bale community. The project will employ the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) as an entry point for community mobilization. Women in targeted communities have limited opportunities to financial credit. This situation increases their vulnerability to drivers of poverty. CRIS and her partners believe that opportunities exist to empower rural women to overcome this through Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) which offers a viable platform to promote savings and investments for increased financial independence. As VSLAs mature, they will be able to seek opportunities for long-term credit from more formal institutions to improve their livelihood. Provide revolving groundnut, maize seed scheme to farmers
A revolving groundnut, soya beans, cowpea seed credit will be provided to 50 farmers to plant. In the first year of the project, 50 interested farmers will be reached and each farmer will be given one bag of groundnut seed for planting. The beneficiaries are expected to repay a bag and a half to enable the project extends assistance to other farmers next on the line. Resource persons will come from the MOFA and CRIS Support farmers with 20 Bee hives established in selected suitable areas and alternative source of income for farmers which will be replicated to cover 200 households.
In a discussion with of the communities leading to the design of this project indicates that most of the people are interested in bee keeping. Some of the reason they gave was that bee keeping multiply very fast, grow fast and increase their incomes quickly. The project would therefore support 30 indigenous farmers to do bee keeping. Farmers will be trained, assisted with boxes, for the beehives, and gloves. Link farmer trust groups to fair and ready markets. The project would assist farmers to source for better markets for their produce. Market surveys would be conducted and fair market options identified to provide ready market to farmers produce that would increase their incomes to sustain their livelihoods. Such markets should be easily accessible to the farmers. Resource persons would come from the CRIS and NBSSI.

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Project Snapshot

Centre for Rural Improvement Services
Area Of Work:
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 23,800.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 7,800.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 35,000.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
60% women and 40% men are target beneficiaries. Their practices in this project will be given equal attention in terms of tracking, documentation and lessons sharing
Notable Community Participation
CRIS deployed a participatory approach in identifying the context problems that served as a foundation for this project design. This involved consulting community leadership, site visits with community members among others. This strongly facilitated their buy-in, commitment and will further have long term impact on project ownership by the indigenes. In order to ensure active participation of the Communities in the area of the implementation of the project, CRIS will continue to use participatory development techniques to involve the people. Some of the main tools to apply in the implementation phase of the project especially in the preparation of land use plans, establishment of agro-forestry practices, establishment of multipurpose woodlot and fodder banks, and in the various training programs we involve traditional authorities, decentralized local governance structures and solidarity groups such as women and youth groups. This process will lead to the transfer of absolute control and ownership of the project to the communities. This will enable beneficiary communities identify themselves with the project as their own to ensure its sustainability.
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Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 1
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 1
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 180
Number of indigenous people participated/involved in SGP project 200
Innovative financial mechanisms put in place through SGP project 2
Hectares of degraded land rest 50
Hectares of land sustainably managed by project 50
Number of innovations or new technologies developed / applied 2
Number of local policies informed in land degradation focal area 2
Increase in household income by increased income or reduced costs due to SGP project 100
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 100
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 250

SGP Country office contact

Dr. George Buabin Ortsin
Ms. Lois Sarpong
+233 505740909


UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme P.O. Box 1423
Accra, Greater Accra, 233-302
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