Enhancing the productivity of Kplikpa River Basin and Smallholder Farmer Productivity
Project Background: Ghanaians are already experiencing effects of climate change in regular floods and rainfall variability, in the familiar context of climate change leading to gradual changes in temperature, rainfall patterns and sea level rise. Sustainable management of river basin resources such as maintaining a buffer zone along streams and maintaining forest cover reduces soil erosion during heavy storms, improves infiltration of rain into the soil, recharges underground water and make it available in rivers which hitherto will be a run off causing soil erosion resulting in siltation of rivers. One river basin in Ghana that farmers are push to the margins of agriculture production due its poor environmental management coupled with devastating effects of extremes of climate change is Kplikpa river basin in the Ketu North District.
Project Location: The Ketu North District of the Volta Region, location of this project, is one of the poorest districts in South East of Ghana. It is largely rural with over 80% of the population engaging in small-scale agriculture of average farm size of between 4-6 acres producing food crops and livestock with little or no commercialization to ensure economic transformation. Its energy is 96% from wood source which is a driver for deforestation and degradation of the environment. About 76% of the population in the District has no access to toilet facilities and fewer than 50% to potable drinking water. It is located between latitudes 6o 03”N and 6o 20”N and longitudes 0o 49’E and 1o 05’E. It shares boundaries with the Akatsi District to the North and the Republic of Togo to the East. Ketu North District has a surface area of about 754 square kilometers, with a population, projected from the 2000 population census, of 98, 512.
Justification for Project: The natural environment of the Kplikpa River is highly degraded. The banks are deforested. Even though the district’s savanna vegetation has huge potential for agriculture it has yet to be the means for socio-economic development to reduce its endemic poverty. Rainfall variability and the associated water stress are of major concern resulting in extremes of flood and draught making the communities and farmers more vulnerable to the stressors of climate change with scanty rainfall of 800mm/year and short growing period of fewer than 50 days. These households need sustainable livelihood and quality of life through stable agricultural productivity by conserving natural capital, in the spirit of sustainable development. The main goal of this project is to replicate the successful “Woadze Model” to reduce the vulnerability of communities in the Kplikpa River Basin through sustainable management of basin resources, empowerment farmer groups and promotion of market oriented agriculture to improve the quality of life of small holder farmers– to the benefit of almost a thousand households amongst the poorest of the poor.
Objective of the Project: To replicate the “Woadze Model” to reduce the vulnerability of communities in the Kplikpa River Basin through sustainable management of basin resources, empowerment of farmer groups and promotion of market oriented agriculture to improve the quality of life of small holder farmers; to the benefit of almost a thousand households amongst the poorest of the poor.
The “Woadze Model” is a classical successful initiative which was piloted in the Dayi River Basin; an integration of climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation, environmental protection and sustainable agriculture practice; to reduce the vulnerability of riverine communities against climate change stressors, ensure quality of life and enable sustainable environmental management benefiting 100 households.
This Objective would be achieved through:
- Establishment of baseline which will be done using the rapid river basin assessment tool.
- Strengthening of water resource governing systems
- Market oriented agriculture skills: enhancing the skills of farmers in vegetable value-chain, production and postharvest operations including price negotiations, roles and obligation in marketing contracts
- Micro finance scheme operated as savings and loans.
Expected project results
- Agro forestry established to ameliorate the environment; temperature stress and precipitation and biodiversity.
- Kplikpa river basin management board inaugurated and functioning.
- Market oriented irrigated vegetable production sustainability grown for local and export market
- Micro finance scheme set up to support farmers to increase production in the area.
- Degradation of the Kplikpa river basin reduced through establishment of buffer zones along the course of the river.
- Enhanced leadership, organizational development and political competence among farmer leaders.
External Partner: JJ Charitable Trust, UK
Beneficiaries: The project is being implemented amongst 5 communities in the Kplikpa River Catchment area of over 25 communities; these cover 32% of the entire river basin.
Implementation period: August 2014 to July 2017.