A lecturer at the School of Business and Law-University of Development Studies (UDS), Dr. John Yaw Akparep, has underscored the need for development of a workable national policy to promote and protect activities of permaculture.
This, he explained, will among others contribute immensely to preservation of the environment, especially biodiversity, from indiscriminate destruction as well as enhance the production of healthy agricultural produce for human consumption and industrial use.
Permaculture is a practice that combines hundreds of species, plants and animals, into a fertility-regulating ecosystem rather than planting large tracts of one crop. It thus integrates land resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies –imitating the no-waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. The practice reproduces the ecology of natural areas in a planned and managed way, without the aid of artificial inputs.
He said: “Despite the overwhelming relevance of permaculture to society, not so much recognition and efforts have been made to improve upon the practice. Doing things the natural way helps in conserving the environment, enhancing productivity, and fighting against climate change”.
Dr. Akparep was speaking at a stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Ghana Permaculture Network (GPN) at Techiman – the Bono East Region capital. The forum was under the theme ‘Creating a sustainable environment for growing permaculture business through advocacy’. It formed part of the BUSAC Fund’s sponsored activities to drum home the need for a national permaculture policy.
The UDS lecturer indicated that permaculture business in its current state – without a workable national policy – leaves about 8,000 practitioners across the country unprotected, and also impedes efforts to realise the full potentials of the practice for optimum benefits.
The Chairman of Ghana Permaculture Network (GPN), Paul Yeboah, in an interview with B&FT said there is no equipped laboratory within the middle-belt (Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions) for permaculture research, indicating that practitioners have to trek to Kumasi and Accra for scientific research into products such as moringa, honey, lemon-grass, mango and ginger.
The Permaculturist added that the technology and equipment needed to add value to their products is virtually imaginary in the country, and therefore appealed for government’s intervention.
The Techiman Municipal Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Eric Hudson Asamani, on his part acknowledged the importance of permaculture as a way of agricultural diversification. He however pointed out that with the high rate of population growth, it would not be prudent to abandon the conventional agricultural system and hook onto the natural system alone, saying “the process must be gradual”.
He said: “Conventional agriculture and permaculture must be run side by side. For a start, permaculturists can take advantage of government interventions such as supply of organic fertilisers and improved seeds under the Planting for Food and Jobs to enhance food security”.