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Changing practice from agrochemical to organic methods in rural Ghana: the Nkabom Organic Farming Project

Abstract

Organic farming is a proven healthy and economical method of farming with the capacity to solve the global food security need, especially in low-income countries. However, in the recent past, many farmers have been practicing non-organic farming at the risk of health and food security. There is the need to elevate to innovative organic-based farming practices. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the success of small-scale farmers converting to organic farming practices in a rural village in Ghana, West Africa, through an intensive training program and supply investment. Forty-two farmers participated in the training conducted by a farm educator from a medical university in Charleston, SC, in partnership with a local farmer who had received individual training in organic methods. One hundred percent of the farmers participated in research interviews before training and 7 months after training. Results indicate that the farmers were highly successful in converting to organic methods. Seven months post-training, 92.9% of farmers reported sole use of organic methods. In addition, their reported average monthly income increased significantly. Farmers were fairly knowledgeable about organic farming before the training but did not have specific skills in organic methods. The provision of comprehensive training in organic methods was highly successful for enabling the rural farmers in Ghana to change their farming practices.

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Acknowledgments

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the MUSC Urban Farm, without which the project would not have happened. We wish to thank the farmers of Okurase and the Okurase Farmers Association who gave a lot of their time to undergo the training and practice. We thank the Upper West Akyem Health Directorate for support of the research. We thank Auntie Grace and Auntie Esther for cooking the meals for the training, and we thank Adnan and Ebenezer for serving as Twi interpreters for the training and research interviews. In the USA, we thank Jennifer Powell, Linda Norton, Erin K. Bostelmann, and Connie Medley for their support on this project. Finally, we would like to thank Loren Deal, Anne Griffith, Peter Camm, and students of Miami Valley School for the development work on the organic garden that was a key step in the implementation of this project.

Funding

This study was funded by a grant from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Center for Global Health.

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Correspondence to Cynthia Cupit Swenson.

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Swenson, C.C., Ketron, C., Akonde, M. et al. Changing practice from agrochemical to organic methods in rural Ghana: the Nkabom Organic Farming Project. Org. Agr. 11, 409–420 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13165-021-00346-2

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Keywords

  • Ghana
  • Good agricultural practices (GAP)
  • Integrated pest management
  • Organic methods