Ghana - Upper West Region
The long dry season in the Upper West Region of Ghana results in only a short growing season for farmers, growing yam, maize and millet. A low tech tractor is now available to speed ploughing and ground preparation.thumbnail view
Tractor available to women's groups in uppper West region og Ghana
The long dry season in the Upper West Region of Ghana results in only a short growing season for farmers, growing yam, maize and millet. Planting must be completed quickly as soon after the start of the rainy season in order to maximise the time for crops to mature before the onset of the next annual drought. Much of the planting is done by hand, by women’s groups, usually one per village, which nevertheless manage to grow crops forming the major part of family diet.
Our local partner in Ghana, Coalition for Change (C4C), has been working with the groups of women farmers, giving advice on improving crop yields in the harsh unforgiving environment.
Clearly, the use of a tractor would enable more land to be planted in the time available. However, although there are a number of tractors in the area, they are owned in the main by absentee landowners. When ploughing has been completed on the land of these owners, they are often hired out to male villagers so that they can undertake independent farming. Only after such use, do tractors become available to the women’s groups, but by then it is usually too late to plant.
C4C, with the Rotary Club of Scarborough Cavaliers identified that a small, low tech tractor, managed by C4C and let out to the women’s groups on a not-for-profit basis, could significantly enhance yields and give food security. Surplus crops could be sold to give family income to support health and education. A suitable tractor was sourced and purchased in the UK by the Rotary Clubs of Stainborough and Scarborough Cavaliers and then shipped by partners Christian Africa Relief Trust of Huddersfield.
C4C put the tractor to work in May 2016 when the ploughing requirements of seven women’s groups were completed before the onset of the dry season. Some 70 per cent of operating and maintenance costs were recovered from payments, in cash or produce, made by the participants. Following the initial deployment, 28 women’s groups are now participating in 2017.