Empowering household nutrition and food security


…one backyard garden at a time

Backyard farming is becoming increasingly popular in Ghana again, and the benefits cannot be underrated. First and foremost, it allows individuals to have access to fresh, healthy produce.

Instead of relying on mass-produced, often genetically modified, and heavily processed food from grocery stores, individuals can grow their own food without the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides. This provides a great source of nutrition and can lead to better health outcomes.

Additionally, growing one’s food helps to reduce food waste. Another significant benefit of backyard farming is its impact on the environment. Conventional agriculture, which relies heavily on chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, is one of the most significant contributors to environmental degradation, including soil erosion, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

In contrast, backyard farming utilizes organic farming practices, such as composting, crop rotation, and natural pest control, to maintain healthy soil and protect the environment. Furthermore, the transportation of food from farm to store generates a significant amount of carbon emissions. By growing food in their own backyard, individuals can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Backyard farming also provides economic benefits. For individuals living in food deserts, where access to fresh produce is limited, backyard farming can be a source of income and employment. Additionally, growing one’s food reduces the need to purchase expensive produce from grocery stores, saving money and allowing individuals to invest in other areas of their lives. Furthermore, backyard farming can provide a source of community building and social cohesion, as individuals can share their harvest with neighbors or participate in community gardens.

Another important benefit of backyard farming is its potential to promote food security. Food security refers to the ability of individuals and communities to access sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. With the current global food system facing challenges such as climate change, population growth, and resource depletion, backyard farming can play a significant role in promoting food security.

By growing food locally, individuals can reduce their reliance on imported food, which can be subject to price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. Additionally, backyard farming can help to address food insecurity in low-income communities, where access to fresh produce is often limited. By growing food in their own backyard, individuals can ensure that they have access to fresh, healthy food, regardless of their income level.

Agrihouse Foundation “1Household, 1Garden” Project

At Agrihouse Foundation, we have been working with our partners to make vegetable backyard gardens more accessible for our brothers and sisters in the northern parts of the country. Through our 1Household, 1Garden Initiative, which aims to scale up household nutrition and food security, we have trained and provided starter packs to over six thousand (6000) households in seventeen (17) districts that cut across the Upper East region, Upper West region, Northern and North-East region.

The whole of last week, some members of the Agrihouse team were in the Upper West region, moving across five (5), including, Duffiama Bussie Issa, Nadowli, Sissala East, Sissala West and Wa East, as part of wrapping up the final stages of the second phase of the Initiative, which commenced on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

In all about five hundred (500) beneficiaries were impacted, receiving training on how to start and effectively maintain backyard vegetable gardens. The initiative also provided beneficiaries with incentives like vegetable seedlings, seeds, gardening tools, organic fertilizers, and pesticides to start their backyard gardens. Women, widows, single mothers, young girls and persons living with physical challenges, were the focus and major beneficiaries of the project.

In a recent press statement, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, revealed that, the first stage of the second phase of the project, covered about 600 beneficiaries in the Northern and North East Regions respectively, have directly benefitted from the initiative in the past year. The beneficiary districts included, Tempane District, Daffiama Bussie Issa, Nadowli, Sissala East, and Sissala West. The rest are Wa East, East Mamprusi, Mamprugu Moagduri, Mion, Sagnarigu, Nanton, Gushegu, Karaga, Yendi Municipal, Bawku Municipal, Bawku West and Garu in the Upper East.

She noted that indirectly, the project impacted about 7200 beneficiaries, taking into consideration, the average number of people in households that were represented at the training sessions. “We are very pleased with the outcomes, and motivated therefore committed to ensuring that 1H1G continues to contribute significantly to food security and nutrition in the districts, by providing direct access to fresh healthy foods for households,” she stressed.

In view of these successes, Ms. Akosa has called on government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to consider partnership with Agrihouse Foundation, to scale-up implementation of the initiative, across the sixteen (16) regions of the country. “We are hoping that in the near future government will consider a partnership with Agrihouse Foundation that will scale–up the project to cut across the sixteen (16) regions,” she said.

She added, “Already, the initiative is triggering and reviving a national interest in backyard gardens. We are certain that a national collaboration with government will scale up interests even more.” Howeever, in the meantime, she has noted that, with support from AGRA, funding from USAID- Feed the Future Program, and technical assistance from District Extension Officers, the wheels of Agrihouse Foundation will continue to drive the initiative’s vision of ensuring household nutrition and food security in homes across the northern regions.

Beneficiary Testimonies

Beneficiaries like Rabbi Mohammed, a physically challenged woman residing in Gushegu has described the project as “life-saving,” adding that, the training has improved her knowledge in farming, also helped her to provide for her family, because of the recent increase in her vegetable production and income.

From the Nalerigu Community, Lamisi Moses, a visually impaired woman noted that the training will enable her to save more money, since she will be cultivating and harvesting her own vegetables going forward, and will be able to sell the excesses in the market.

Chief Abukari, a visual impaired man who participated in the project intends to use the produce for personal consumption. He grows garden eggs and cabbages

Abdullah Wahab, a physically challenged person and beneficiary in Funsi District of the Upper West Region, commended Agrihouse and Partners for initiating “1Household, 1Garden” project. According to him, the initiative has been very beneficial, and therefore he has urged other persons with disability to take advantage of the initiative to help them improve their livelihood.

“I am a disabled man but now because of the 1h1g initiative I will not be moving to the market to buy my ingredients, I will just go to my backyard and harvest my vegetables. I am so grateful to Agrihouse foundation and its partners for the support they are giving to help improve lives of people and persons living with disabilities in the district through this initiative’’ he said.

Yussif Tahiru, a hearing-impaired vegetable farmer and beneficiary of the 1H1G initiative from Tumu in the Upper West Region, also said the knowledge gained from the extension officers would help him improve his farming practices.

Deika Ajawaria, a beneficiary in the Sisaala East District expressed her profound gratitude for the support given to them, adding it will help develop the interest of young women in backyard farming.

A Visually impaired farmer, Baba Sidiki Kouro Moah, in Bouti in the Sisaala West District, while eulogizing Agrihouse Foundation and partners for the 1H1G Project, emphasizing that, the initiative will complement the dry season farming, which is their main source of livelihood, during the dry season. According to him, his family feeds from the vegetable farm and sells some of the crops for the children’s school expenses. However, like Oliver twist” he used the opportunity to appeal for more fence to keep animals from away their gardens.

Testimonies from Agric Agencies and Extension Officers

While praising the practicality of the 1Household 1Garden Project, CEO of Action Community Development (ACDEV) in the Sissala West District, Mr. Hudu has also reiterated the pledge of the women, widows, single mothers, young girls and persons with physical challenges, in Sissala West, to effectively use the knowledge and incentives they have received under the 1household 1garden Project.

He said the training and incentives received by the women in the district would also go a long way to improve their backyard gardening efforts. “This support you brought; you might have seen it as a very small thing. But it is a very big venture that you have made for my women and I, and we are so much grateful,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, he pledged an effective use of the knowledge gained, as well as transfer of knowledge to more community members. “We will put this to effective use and the next time that you will be coming, even transfer of this knowledge that we have gained, to other members of the CBI’s to be able to keep their own ways of keeping their gardens. Maybe we will not have souvenir for them, but I assure you, the knowledge we will be sharing.”

The Municipal Crop Officer for Sisaala East Mr. Emmanuel Aquitey, noted that the 1Household, 1Garden Initiative will, going forward, bring great relief to smallholder farmers in the district, and make them food secure and improve their income.

In Sissala West, the District Director of the Sisaala West Assembly, Andimwini Esther Bahinuba, while extending gratitude to Agrihouse and AGRA for the initiative, added, the project would certainly serve as an alternative livelihood for women, especially during the off-farming season.

Meanwhile, on behalf of beneficiaries in Sisaala West District, Madam Zenkaa Phidilia of the District office commended the detailed nature of the 1H 1G initiative training, noting that it has greatly enhanced the understanding of the beneficiaries. This, she said will help them to effectively grow and sustain their individual projects. While thanking the donor Agencies, she assured them that the starter packs would be used for the intended purpose.

The District Chief Executive for Wa East District of the Upper West Region Dr. Ewurah Sulemani Kandia Mahama also praised Agrihouse Foundation for the 1Household 1Garden (1H1G) project. He describes the 1H1G as a dream come through for the district, as the project will complement governments flagship programmes like the 1D1F and 1V1D.

Emphasizing the importance of the 1H1G, Dr. Ewurah Sulemani Kandia Mahama said it would help reduce rural-urban migration, youth and women in galamsey and decrease social vices.

The DCE assured the Agrhouse Foundation team that his doors would always be open to collaborate them for developmental purposes. He used the opportunity to thank Agrihouse Foundation for selecting two communities from the Wa East District to benefit from the training and support under the 1H1G.

Meanwhile, he appealed to AGRA, USAID and its funding partners to provide more funding so that more vulnerable women farmers in the Wa East District can benefit from the 1H1G project. This he said will help reduce poverty while ensuring food and nutrition security in the district.

The extension officer in the district, who was part of the training session, Ziekye Solomon, applauded Agrihouse Foundation and Partners for the initiative, adding that, the project will help the smallholder farmers in the district and operational area, because the people in the areas have to purchase vegetables even though they don’t have money. Now the project has made it possible for the residents to grow and harvest vegetables in their own backyard to feed the family and also get surplus to sell at the market to earn an income.

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