Martin, the acting M&E officer in the Bolgatanga office, teaches a young extension agent who is interested in becoming a technical officer how to take a bearing
Please accept the following pictures of my time in the field with the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation team as a replacement for the FULL post that I really owe you…. and I’m working on, I promise.
Two members of a rural household near Navrongo, I didn’t get their names (my apologies). Madame was very proud that MoFA used their fields to measure the state of agriculture in the region.
In another nearby area, we witnessed further evidence of the collapse of homes due to the heavy rains in August. The districts we visited were some of the worst hit by flooding in the region. In the background are two grain silos.
The early millet produced from the 6×6 plot cut from the same house is pitiful. This is every stalk in the area, and it only weighs 1kg. I would say that this level of crop failure is much worse than the average farmer, but not a rare occurrence across the region.
This time of the year farmers burn the grasses around their homes and along commonly used pathways for fear of snakes and scorpions. My friend Justa, a nurse’s aid in Tongo, killed a cobra and a scorpion in her yard last night. The health centre where she works is currently out of anti-venom, but people regularly arrive with bites and must be transported 15miles to Bolga for treatment in the ambulance. I can understand why she is thinking about burning the brush near her house.
Unfortunately, the burning often goes out of control and causes the destruction of property, income generating trees (mango) and dry season crops. The frequent bush fires severely reduce the fertility of the soil. Other countries in the region (Burkina Faso, Togo) control bush fires through strict policing, but Ghana has not taken significant measures.
Akaanmami ADEM is a small scale livestock farmer in the Builsa District. His name means, ” If I can’t give, you should not blame me. ” yet he gave us a very active chicken as a thank you for coming to his farm. It is worth over 3GHC in the market at present – which is enough money to fuel my motorbike for three days of riding.
Sorghum yields are low, Mr. ADEM is lucky to have heads on these plants that are heavy enough to be bending in the wind. Many sorghum plants in the region didn’t produce grain because the rains washed all of the pollen out of the flowers during the day when they are open.
Here we are husking maize to get the production from the 6×6 plot. I lost a bet on the weight, guessing 6.1kg when the result was 12kg. I should know better than to bet against agric. staff at this point, although no one else guessed close. I consistently lose, particularly when predicting distances. This farmer did much better than average in terms of his yield, and is very familiar with MoFA’s programs.
When measuring the rice plots (rice was one of the crops that did well in areas where the water level didn’t drown the plants ) we came upon some women threshing rice. We would beat the stalks and then turn the pile and continue, until the grains all fell to tohe bottom. Then we winnowed the grain.
It really didn’t take long for me to get some serious blisters, and I got chaff in my eye while winnowing. I swear that my technique got better than this!
Until next time…
oh yeah – and here is my motorbike!
🙂 My friends tell me that when a woman gets a machine, you should call it her new husband. All I can say is that my new man has power to burn. We are in the rocky early stages of our relationship, but there is hope for the future… and I have a good helmet.