Climate Smart Agriculture in Cashew Production System in
Challenges associated climate change is having significant impacts on agricultural practices with consequences on productivity, biodiversity, ecosystem services and food security in regions where agriculture is the backbone of the national economy. These regions have limited resources and lack capacity for adaptation.
Often, farmers solution to increase crop output has been driven by an expansion in their cultivated land (clearing more lands) rather than by increasing productivity from the land. In many instances, farmers relying on increase use of fertilizers and pesticides. Consequence is the large-scale deforestation and additional costs of environmental damage from fertilizer and pesticides accumulation.
This situation is pushing farmers into other alternative sources of livelihood. Farmers in Hani community located within the Tain District of Brong Ahafo Region find that cashew production generates significant income and serve as sources of employment. However, uncertainty remains as to the effect of management practices in maintaining cashew production system under climate change. Long-term nutrient depletion on site and the predicted changes in global climate change effects, specifically, changes in precipitation and temperature will have a significant impact on the cashew yield.
More often, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) has proved vital in providing solutions to the socio-economic and environmental challenges associated with traditional farming practices in many agrarian communities. Adoption of CSA increases food production without depleting soil and water resources, restoring soil fertility and increasing the resilience of farming systems to climatic risk. Furthermore, CSA improves watershed functioning, biodiversity conservation and mitigation of climate change in the form of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration.
Improving productivity would also reduce the need for additional land conversion to agriculture (deforestation) which is a major contributor to the global greenhouse gas emissions.
The goal of this project is to promote climate-smart agriculture into smallholder cashew production system in Hani District with emphasis on the use of improved technologies to increase yields, reduce vulnerability to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers in the District lack appropriate training and capacity to successfully transition into climate smart agriculture.
Hani in Tain District is unique in its geography extending from the dry semi-arid north to the long transition zone to the south. Agriculture remains one of the main economic activities in the Hani community, and majority of the local people engaged in agriculture either as the main occupation or as livelihood support.
The project will support cashew farmers (200 households) to designate approximately 400 hectares of cashew production land under Climate Smart Agriculture system (an average of 2ha of cashew land per household).
Training and supporting 200households on Climate Smart Agriculture technologies (tillage and residue management, crops on tree-land and trees on cropland management, live barriers and fences, forest garden, intercropping, cover cropping and sequential tree fallow)
The project will support planting of 40,000 trees on cashew production land (100 trees/ha). Integrating trees on farmlands will improve soil and water conservation and sequester greenhouse gases.
Training of Champion farmers- 50 farmers will be selected and trained as champion farmers to assist in training of other farmers on CSA technologies
CSA demonstration plots – 10 ha demonstration plot will be established and managed by the Champion farmers. This demonstration plot will serve as a site for learning on CSA
The project will encourage and support farmers on organic composting and biomass transfer