Adaptation of Agro-Ecosystems to Climate Change
Title: Adaptation of Agro-Ecosystems to Climate Change in Ghana (AAESCC)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry for Food and Agriculture
Overall term: 2012 to 2017
Climate change is already having a considerable impact on agriculture in Ghana. Rising temperatures and increasingly variable levels of precipitation are endangering farmers’ yields. This trend is likely to become more pronounced in future. Thus far, the issue of adapting to climate change has been of secondary importance for government policy in Ghana. Although discussions to date regarding climate change have focused on issues relating to emissions reduction, awareness of the importance of adaptation measures is slowly growing. At present, however, there is a lack of ideas as to exactly what form adaptation strategies could take and how to plan corresponding support programmes.
In the savannah and transitional region of Ghana, pilot measures help to define agricultural sector policy and national support measures for the adaptation of land use systems to climate change.
The project operates at several levels. In cooperation with small farmers, tried-and-tested measures designed to facilitate adaptation to climate change are implemented and promising innovations tested. Training measures on adaptation to climate change are developed and implemented for government consultants, private service providers, non-governmental organisations and other institutions. At the policy advice level, the project supports the Ministry for Food and Agriculture in developing strategy.
The project is geared to small farmers in eight districts in the Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions, which are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change due to arid conditions and increasingly variable levels of precipitation. In these eight districts, 16 project communities have been selected. A survey of 800 households as well as group discussions in all participating villages provide basic information on the project region – for instance, on species of useful plants and animal husbandry, cultivation methods, risks resulting from climate change and existing adaptation measures. This study is complemented by a survey on land and resource use.
In conjunction with the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in Tamale, the project plants demonstration samples of drought-resistant maize varieties in the 16 communities. As well as implementing measures intended to increase soil fertility, conserve soil and water, and improve erosion control, it also supports agro-forestry.
In the 2014 growing season, a service provider will provide 600 farmers with weather forecasts by mobile phone, enabling them to better plan their agricultural activities. The Ghana Meteorological Agency is being equipped with automatic weather stations in the eight project districts in order to sustainably improve weather forecasting for the region.