GROW Learning Series
Land degradation and erosion in Northern Ghana is rampant: The Upper West Region (UWR) region has very fragile soils as a result of the removal of crop residue and natural vegetation, overgrazing, bush burning and the cutting of trees for fuel, agriculture and construction. As a result, MEDA has promoted conservation agriculture (CA) practices in the Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project: specifically, zero/minimum tillage, slash and mulch, crop rotation and intercropping and integrated pest management. This study analyzes the implementation of CA among the women smallholder farmers who participated in GROW, the challenges for women farmers in implementing CA in the UWR and the extent to which CA promotes environmental sustainability and mitigates climate change. The results indicated that less than 30% of women farmers who participated in the GROW project implemented a combination of the three key practices to conservation agriculture (zero/minimum tillage, slash and mulch and crop rotation), but that more than 80% of women farmers began implementing at least one conservation agriculture practice. The main challenges to CA implementation in the UWR are the lack of soil cover, climate change and the social status that comes with tractor usage, coupled with the unavailability of specialized tractor machinery that could be used to implement CA practices in the region.