Tree planting is an integral part of ORDF’s initiative. The organisation nurses and plants mostly indigenous trees to replace the trees previously cut down for fuel and building purposes. The benefits of this practice are many, the roots of the trees will secure the top soil and retain soil nutrients reducing the need for chemical fertilisers, the tree canopy will provide shade for people and will keep the crops from drying out and the leaves from the tree will provide compost material for the crops. The main trees ORDF help communities to plant are Neem, Dawadawa, Teak, Mango, Shea, Boaboa and Casia.
Chemical fertiliser contributes negatively to the land, crops and we the consumers, ORDF supports beneficiary communities to replace the chemicals with organic compost. The farmers are trained on compost preparation and application.
The organic compost used is a mix including animal manure, Shea butter processing waste, rice chaff, tree leaves, groundnut shells and dead plants. The farmers using this method have found their crops grow strong and healthy, and the land subsequently provides them with nutrients for several years. This can be compared to using chemical fertiliser which only enables the crops to grow for only one harvest before the chemicals need to be bought and applied again. Ultimately chemical fertilisers cost the farmers money and cause the soil to be less fertile.
ORDF seeks to tackle bad farming practices including bush burning. Farmers have previously been burning what they deemed was waste bush material to make way for crops. This material would be better left to decompose in the top soil of the crops after ploughing. Bush burning also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change and ultimately to food security.
Good farming practices
Farmers in northern Ghana have developed some cultural practices that are negative to their own food production. These have become part of their farming processes and methods right from preparation to harvesting. It includes using fire to clear the land, cutting down the indigenous trees to make way for farming, planting so many crops on the same piece of land, over tillage, farming at the wrong time, uses of wrong seeds as well as adopting un reliable farming methods from others.
ORDF identifies the right farming approach for its beneficiaries, give them the necessary trainings and guide them to be active in the area of good farming practices. ORDF also raises funds to support its beneficiaries in the area of seed and farming equipments. All these are to ensure food security, protected environment and good health.
ORDF also advocate on the general farming practices implemented by other farmer supporting organizations to adopt the right farming techniques that will enhance proper achievement of results.
It is therefore the aim of ORDF to give basic training to farmers in the area of bookkeeping to facilitate their knowledge on the profit and loss in their production.
Empowerment of women
Many women in the Kumbungu District are marginalised and rendered voiceless in terms of planning and implementation of projects in the community. Urgent attention is required if any real development is to be ensured. ORDF has identified the need to involve women in all areas of support, especially farming, tree planting and animal rearing. Women will be encouraged and given support with the training of farming skills, and provided with farming equipment and animals. It is agreed that what men can do, women can also do with equal if not more skill and wisdom. The task of empowering women is given high priority by ORDF.