Sustainable land practices yield high returns in northern zone


Key findings from a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis conducted under the Sustainable Land Use Finance for Self-Reliance (SLUF) project have revealed that enhanced tree planting (ETP) and soybean-maize crop rotation (CR) are the most profitable sustainable land use practices for farmers in northern Ghana.

The analysis, based on survey results from 223 households in some parts of the north, demonstrated that adopting specific sustainable farming practices such as ETP and soybean-maize CR can lead to significant economic benefits. The incremental per hectare economic net present values of ETP and soybean-maize CR were reported to be US$379/ha and US$817/ha, respectively.

These impressive outcomes are attributed to the positive impact on crop yields from crop rotation, as well as the potential for additional income streams through tree-product sales and carbon credits from enhanced tree planting.

Moreover, out of the total number of households surveyed, 116 were associated with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) supported by the SLUF project. The study focused on key indicators such as yields and carbon sequestration to measure the impact of sustainable land use practices.

While there may be initial costs associated with adopting these practices, the long-term benefits include improved soil fertility, reduced input costs and access to premium markets, all of which enhance profitability for farmers.

Beyond the economic advantages, embracing sustainable land use practices also plays a vital role in conserving natural resources, mitigating climate change, creating habitats for wildlife, fostering community engagement and more. An effective integration of these practices into traditional farming systems has shown positive social impacts on farming communities.

The SLUF project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with a budget of US$1.5million over 30 months, is led by CIAT in partnership with the CGIAR programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Global Shea Alliance, Nature for Justice and Mathematica.

This project successfully engaged shea stakeholders in Ghana; assessing landscapes, profiling sustainable agriculture and developing core principles for impact investors. It also facilitated the matching of impact investors with a pipeline of deals and the development of a sustainable land use finance framework.

The SLUF project’s main focus is to secure new private investment commitments for climate-smart agriculture and natural resources management in the country, with plans to expand its impact across Africa.

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