The aim of Subcomponent 1.3 is to mainstream climate change adaptation and resilience of smallholders across the selected value chains.
Conservation agriculture for Rain-fed Farming Systems
Commercially valid adaptive trials and demonstrations of modern conservation agriculture techniques under rain-fed conditions will be undertaken from PY1 onwards. The first demonstrations would focus on a rotation based on maize-sorghum-cowpea/soybean. These interventions will be hosted by leading nucleus farmers and specialist farm services providers, in line with the value chain approach of the Programme. They will provide location specific adaptation of technology for conservation agriculture which is already a mature technique in other countries.
Such technology would include zero-tillage cropping, soil moisture conservation, crop residue retention, appropriate crop rotations and proper crop nutrition. As means to overcome the normal farmer practise of using crop residues for livestock feeding, forage/fodder crops suited to the environment would be included in the rotation. The trials and demonstrations will specifically demonstrate a technically viable approach which provides enhanced yields, yield security, profitability and thus enhanced climate change resilience. A total of about 25 sites will be established, with one in each of the more vulnerable northern Districts (75 sites in total of which 45 sites in cycle 1 and 30 in cycle 2).
The trials and demonstrations will seek to provide practical information for farmers, contractors, buyers, financial institutions for improved productivity within a more erratic climatic regime. The activity will adapt already mature technology which has been developed in other countries to the local climatic, soil and environmental conditions in each district. The result will be that a model relevant for rapid application and uptake in each locality will become available.
The trials and demonstrations would be closely monitored. Some of the pertinent indicators would be: (a) yield per hectare; (b) yield per millimetre of rainfall; (c) B/C ratio; (d) net revenue per hectare; (e) return to family labour; (f) yield variability over successive seasons. It will generally take about three seasons for the full impact of the new system to become evident in each locality. This is because it takes time for the nuances of each locality to be correctly diagnosed and treated, for soil characteristics to be positively changed, and for associated organic systems to become mature. However, there will be immediate benefits from the first season if the technology is properly applied. It is expected that widespread application of such a system would result in higher yields and farm incomes, lower yield variability, lower run-off and much higher levels of soil carbon.
The support to the hosts of the trials will include:
(i) cost of incremental capital equipment for a “unit” of equipment;
(ii) cash operating costs;
(iii) specialised supporting technical assistance;
(iv) specialized services such as soil nutrient analysis and moisture holding capacity.
It is expected that such support would be initially limited to three years for each participant, after which time the operator would be encouraged to continue fully commercial operations. The average size of each unit of operation would be about 390 hectares of cropping at maturity. Individual smallholders will be allocated three hectares within this, but over time, such areas will be subject to change to properly reflect the capacity of individuals. Farmers, service providers and nucleus estate operators will be encouraged to invest in the technology in commercial operations as the demonstrations provide viable results. Programme support would be provided through matching grant funds (Subcomponent 1.2) as well as extension and mentoring support.
Improved Water-Use Efficiency in Irrigation
Although investment in irrigation systems has often been proposed as a means of providing resilience to climate change, these same investments often fail to deliver in terms of reliability of water supply, good yields and most importantly value for money in terms of water-availability per unit of investment cost. A central reason for this is that existing irrigation systems rely on wasteful and inefficient water delivery and application methods. Typically, semi-controlled flood irrigation systems have water-use efficiency of less than 40%, which means that more than 60% of available water is wasted.
The Programme would therefore support trials and demonstrations of improved water-use efficiency techniques within existing irrigation systems and from available water sources. These would include:
a) application of drip and micro-jet systems;
b) other water-efficient means of delivery;
c) soil moisture monitoring as a means of advanced irrigation scheduling and management;
d) better drainage, and use of water “recycling” from drainage as a means of enhancing efficiency.
These demonstrations will be provided within existing irrigation systems and/or from existing water sources. They will be commercial in nature. It is proposed that some 20 such demonstrations be established (3 per annum), each with a commercially valid command area (at least 5 hectares). Programme support for these demonstrations would include:
(a) the capital cost of equipment provided;
(b) the incremental operating costs;
(c) specialist technical assistance and training.
The indicators that would be monitored would include:
(a) water-use efficiency, that is, the amount of plant available water available as a percentage of the volume of water applied;
(b) water-use per hectare per crop;
(c) value of produce per MT of water applied;
(d cost of application per MT of water applied.
The application of such technology will provide greater crop and income security for smallholders by improving the capacity of their crops to withstand water stress. These improved and low cost water harvesting and management technologies will be promoted extensively. Farmers, especially FBOs linked through VCCs, would be encouraged to make investments in these systems. They could be supported both through the matching grant system (Subcomponent 1.2) and through provision of irrigation infrastructure support (Subcomponent 2.1).
Capacity Building and Awareness in the field of Climate Change Resilience.
The Programme will provide support for capacity building and enhanced public awareness in the field of climate change resilience. Specific capacity building will also include support to DADUs, FBOs, Water User Associations (WUA) and other members of the VCCs. The activities which will be supported include:
Development and dissemination of climate change adaptation toolkits in conjunction with training courses focused on resilience of key rain-fed production systems in the northern regions. A total of 770 toolkits will be disseminated. These will provide farmers with technical training regarding practical activities that promote climate resilient production systems. The toolkits will focus on the resilience of rain-fed production systems in the northern regions and will include simplified and easy information in local language.
The toolkits will describe:
(a) the project effects of climate change and climate-related hazards in Ghana, with specific reference to the impact on agriculture; and
(b) adaptation interventions that will build resilience to these impacts, including – but not limited to – interventions described in this ASAP project such as agro-forestry, conservation agriculture, weather-index based insurance.
Awareness raising on climate change to sensitise farmers and their organizations on the process of climate change and the effects of climate-related risks5; general awareness on climate change and climate-related risks will be presented at 180 sensitisation sessions. More specific information relating to climate will be presented at 254 Farmer Field Days, while VCCs will receive training courses on climate change and climate resilient production systems. In addition, 110 climate change adaptation courses will provide technical training on adapted agricultural calendars, better collection and use of weather data, improved productions techniques (incorporating agro-forestry, diversification, conservation agriculture etc.) and other adaptation strategies.
International and national exchange visit: Farmers will be taken on visits to neighbouring countries (i.e. Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal (6) and other districts/regions within Ghana (target: 280 participants) where they will be able to observe first-hand appropriate climate change adaptation techniques. This will enable them to implement these techniques in their own agricultural production, serving as “adaptation champions” to other members of their communities. These farmers will be supported to implement the know-how gained on these exchange visits through ASAP activities.
Production of technical briefs and notes, dissemination of good practices and training on the use of weather information and the adjustment of cropping systems and calendars, and other appropriate interventions that increase climate resilience. Technical assistance for feasibility and design studies and planning including the development of environmental and climate change management plans for these interventions.
Institutional Support for Climate Change Resilience
EPA and the Environmental Unit of MOFA will receive institutional support, mainly in the form of equipment, training and support to organized workshops and events.
GASIP will use the following methodology to launch and manage this key activity:
A technical working group will be formed to guide implementation of the trials and demonstrations. This will consist of:
- Each Zonal Value Chain Specialist;
- The Climate Change Adaptation Manager;
- A Senior representative of SARI;
- A Senior representative of MoFA;
- A farmer representative (preferably a nucleus estate farmer); and,
- A VCF representative involved in development of the main crops selected for support under the trials and demonstrations.
Specialist Technical Assistance, likely to be an international appointment from a country where the technology is already mature, would be identified and appointed. The TA would provide guidance to the working group and to the selected demonstration sites; The CCAM will, in consultation with each DA, propose and validate the selected sites. Approximately half of the sites will be hosted through smallholder service providers, and half by nucleus estates.
The programme would finance:
- All incremental equipment needs for each site;
- Initially, all of incremental operating/inputs costs, with the proportion of this provided dropping as benefits are realised;
- All training costs;
- All costs of public demonstrations to potential adopters.
As it is expected to take about three seasons for the full impact of the new system to become evident in each locality, support will be provided for this period in each locality. The trials and demonstrations will be closely monitored. Some of the pertinent indicators would be:
- Yield per hectare;
- Yield per millimetre of rainfall;
- Cost of sales (yield) as a proportion of revenue;
- Overall profitability of the system;
- Labour requirement as a proportion of revenue;
- Yield variability over successive seasons; and,
- Yield and cost comparisons with conventional farming systems.
- This information will be collated and widely publicised in an effort to engender rapid adoption of the new techniques.