By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
The RESULT project is featured in new research commissioned by the Canadian Food Security Policy Group (FSPG), a coalition of civil society organizations seeking to improve Canada’s food security work overseas. The RESULT project is featured as one of six independently researched case studies in West Africa that demonstrate how Canadian support for agriculture in rural communities can improve livelihoods, promote gender equality and build climate resilience.
To read the RESULT case study, and other reports from the Food Security Policy Group’s research project, please visit the Leaders in the Field mainpage.
It is December in northeastern Ghana and the rainy season is long over. Harmattan, a season of cold, dry winds from the northern hemisphere, is in full force.
A few years ago, the Harmattan season meant Talata Adindanbire, 57, would be among the thousands of seasonal workers who left towns and villages in the north and travelled to central and southern cities in search of work. Her income would help support her family of 11, including her newborn twin grandchildren. She usually found work in restaurants and canteens in urban centres like Kumasi, Ghana’s second-biggest city. When the rains returned in April she would uproot herself once again and head back to her village to farm maize and millet.
But on a chilly Monday afternoon in December, Talata is at home, standing on some rocks next to the community dam. On the water reservoir behind the dam is the fish farm she and her neighbours tend. During the dry season, the water shrinks from its banks. But the fish cages are situated at the deepest point.
The fish farm has had a huge impact in this community ever since it was first constructed as part of the Resilient And Sustainable Livelihoods Transformation (RESULT) project. The six-year initiative of Canadian Feed the Children (CFTC) with funding from the Canadian government, reached 21,000 small-scale farmers—primarily women—across Ghana’s Upper East and Upper West regions and helping them to learn climate-resilient farming practices.
The RESULT project was implemented with the help of the project’s local partner organization ACDEP.
The fish farm has helped augment the incomes and diets of families like Talata’s. In rural Ghana women disproportionately suffer from the impacts of climate change and bear the primary burden of raising children and providing for their needs. In recent years, rain patterns in northern Ghana have become more unpredictable. Women like Talata are benefiting from climate-smart farming practices and alternative livelihoods.
Women who participated in the RESULT project learned about alternative livelihoods for the dry season. In addition to fish farming, they learned techniques for growing crops with less water as well as a variety of skills such as making shea butter, weaving baskets, making soap and beekeeping. They learned how to market their finished products to local buyers and organized themselves into savings and loans groups to leverage their newfound income.
“Women now have more status in the community and have gained access to farmland. They have more say in decisions at home and in the community as a whole”, says Amanda Anipu, who works for ACDEP.
Talata was head of the aquaculture group that received training on good aquaculture practices, including how and when to feed the fingerlings and how to process the fish after harvest. Six months after the first fingerlings were brought to the dam, Talata and her group harvested the first of their cages, to a lot of excitement.
“Everyone was so happy. Even the size of the fish was also good and the chief of the land came here to see us harvesting,” Talata says. If not for the fish farm, she says, she “…would be down south, away from [her] family, washing dishes in a canteen.”
Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu is a freelance journalist based in Accra, Ghana. His work has been published in The Guardian and Al Jazeera.