A senior lecturer at the Faculty of Bioscience-University for Development Studies, Dr. Damian Tom-Dery, has advocated the adoption of policies that will encourage intensification of farming rather than expanding more farmlands.
This, according to him, will ensure sustainable agriculture and the preservation of woody species that enhance food security and also encourage more youth into farming. Lack of policy and strategic placement continues to be a challenge for sustainable livelihoods in rural communities.
He said research by the faculty revealed that though commercial farming generates jobs and provides some form of community support, the practice also results in shortage of fertile land for smallholder farmers.
Dr. Tom-Dery however said large-scale commercial farms have negative social and environmental consequences which can undermine the attainment of other SDGs (especially SDGs 13 and 15) at the local and regional scales. “Our survey in the field revealed an estimated 19,117,837 individual trees, shrubs and saplings of woody species have been excavated as a result of 30 commercial farms,” he added.
It was also revealed that large hectares of woodland that existed in 2015 were converted to agricultural farmlands by 2021 – which though it is good also poses a threat to the sector, he stressed.
Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences-University for Development Studies (UDS), Professor Elliot H. Alhassan said the faculty has over the years been encouraging students and lecturers to embark on research activities to help identify issues confronting the sector; and also come out with sustainable remedies in order to boost the agricultural sector, which is the economy’s backbone.
According to him, government’s ability to focus on the tertiary institutions pursuing bioscience programmes into aqua-culture, Shea among others would help the faculty come out with more research, adding: “Research is very expensive and therefore needs support to enable the students and lecturers conduct the research needed for possible solutions.”