Regional Advisory Information and Network System (RAINS), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has called on farmers, especially rural dwellers, to adopt agro-ecological practices to protect the environment and increase food production.
It said the growing effect of climate change in the country and the world in general, requires an agricultural system that would boost food production and sustain communities and households, hence the need to adopt such farm practices.
Agro-ecology is a system of farming that works in accordance with nature, using cultivation and breeding methods that do not rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other inorganic genetic modifiers.
Mr Mohammed Kamel Damma, Project Officer at RAINS, made the call when his organization went on a monitoring tour to assess progress of some communities where it had trained its members on the agro-ecological practices as part of the RAINSâ€™s SEWOH Project.
The three- and half-year project which started in 2018 will end in 2022, and it is being implemented in partnership with African Biodiversity Network (ABN) in five communities including Yilikpani, Langa, Yiwogu, Yizegu, Tindang communities in the Savelugu Municipality of the Northern Region, with funding support from Bread for the World (BftW).
It aims at ensuring food sovereignty and improved livelihoods in Africa through strengthening the ability of local communities to save and preserve biodiversity, through a Community Seed and Knowledge (CSK) initiative.
Mr Damma said the continuous use of chemical fertilizers for farming polluted the environment and caused the soil to lose its fertility, adding that there is the need for farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices.
He called on government to incorporate agro-ecological concepts into the countryâ€™s agricultural policies saying the practice would enhance biodiversity and improve rural livelihoods.
Farmers, who were trained on the agro-ecological practices, shared their views, saying it had helped to boost their production and saved them from incurring huge cost of production.
Mr Tahiru Sule, a beneficiary of the project, said â€œI have realised that the practice has helped my land to be very fertile and so my crops can now withstand the dry seasonâ€.
Madam Safuratu Hamidu, another beneficiary, said â€œthe practice is a very good course and I will encourage every farmer to adopt it to increase their yieldâ€.
However, with the outbreak of theÂ COVID-19, the farmers lamented the reduction in farm sale since they had to adhere to the social distancing protocol to avoid contracting the virus.
â€œBefore theÂ COVID-19, we engaged in peer-to-peer farming which allowed us to cultivate vast land for ourselves. But because of the virus, we have to obey the social distancing protocol so we no longer do that and that is really affecting usâ€, they said.