Sana Abudulai is an organic farmer in the small village of Napagiyili in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region in Ghana. As the community wait for overdue rains, the land is dry and the heat is intense. A sparse covering of mango, sheanut and dawadawa trees dot the damaged landscape. The produce from Sana’s farm feeds her family of 13 and she grows groundnuts, maize, rice and chilli peppers.
Shifting from Chemical to Organic
Sana has grown her crops organically for five years, before this she found that her soil had become dry and infertile, which meant she had to spend every bit of her spare money from making sheabutter on food. There was no money for school materials. Transferring from chemical to organic farming practices has enabled her family to eat all year round, and their “life has got easier”. To make organic compost she digs a pit and puts neem tree leaves, sheabutter waste, old thatch from houses and animal manure into it. The compost, once transported to the farm, is not able to cover her 3 acres of farmland, so the areas without organic fertiliser are applied with chemicals, and this has clearly demonstrated a difference in her crop yields. Now that she uses organic fertiliser, her crop yields have increased and she is able to sell some of her surplus produce in Kumbungu or Tamale. Sana and her children carry the produce 1km to the road on their heads.
The knowledge she has gained using organic farming she passes to her children when they help her on the farm. Some of her friends are also interested in the technique and have begun to try it on small parts of their farm.
A Changing Climate
The landscape has changed at Napagiyili, Sana explained how if a child were to walk to the nearest village of Gumo, they would be afraid because of the many trees. Now the trees have been cut down and not replaced, causing less rain, more severe winds, soil erosion and decreased soil fertility. The children may be less afraid but the environment has suffered. Sana described the soil now to be like the floor in their compound, hard and infertile.
Sana also rears animals, she has goats, sheep and fowls. She will sell an animal for school fees, their manure is used for the organic compost, and they are also used as sacrifices for funerals and for good harvest.