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Submitted by Guest on Fri, 11/19/2010 - 11:37
Date of RUAF intervention: 2005-ongoing
INTRODUCTION: CITY CONTEXT
Accra is the capital city of Ghana. It covers an area of between 230-240 km² and has an estimated population of about 2,340,000. The population growth rate is estimated at 3.4 percent per annum in the city itself but up to 10 percent in its peri-urban districts. The city receives low annual rainfall averaging 810 mm distributed over less than 80 days. The Odaw River is the main river that flows through Accra. Accra’s main water supply is from the Weija Dam on Densu River with some water being pumped from the Akosombo dam in the Volta River.
Accra is the most urbanized city in Ghana with a population density of 5,530 persons per square kilometer as compared to Kumasi with a population density of 5,350 persons per square kilometer. Most industry, manufacturing, commerce, business, culture, education, political and administrative functions are based in the conurbation Accra-Tema, attracting migrants from all over the country and from neighboring countries. This has contributed a great deal to the urbanization of Accra.
Primary agricultural production is a small economic sector in Accra, with main activities marine fishing, urban agriculture, horticulture and livestock keeping. Urban farming in Accra is typically done along water bodies, drains, and in backyards. The main urban agriculture activities are horticulture and livestock keeping.
There are two major categories of urban agriculture in Accra. Backyard gardening and open space farming. Backyard gardening takes place in and around homes. An estimated 60% of all households in Accra are engaged in some form of backyard gardening with about 50-70 ha distributed over 80, 000 backyards. (Obuobie et al)
The dominant UPA practices are irrigated, market oriented, vegetable production which contributes up to 80% of the supply of fresh exotic vegetables in Accra. About 1000 vegetable farmers are known to operate in and around Accra. 60% of these produce exotic vegetables while 40% grow indigenous vegetables.
Irrigated vegetable production takes place on a 100 ha land area in the dry season. About 680 ha under maize, 47 ha under vegetables (rain fed) and 251 ha under mixed cereal-vegetable cropping systems.
It was estimated in the RUAF exploratory survey (in 2006) that about 1000 farmers were involved in rain-fed and irrigated urban agriculture, who produce exotic vegetables, like lettuce, cabbage, spring onions, cucumber, green pepper and cauliflower, or the more traditional vegetables as tomatoes, okra, eggplant and hot pepper. Plot sizes range between 0.01-0.02 ha per farmer, and reach 20 ha in peri-urban areas that predominantly grow exotic vegetables and keep some livestock in some cases. Other components of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Accra are poultry, small ruminants, dairy farming, aquaculture, and other short-cycle species such as mushroom and Grasscutter a leading source of bush meat in the guinea savannah.
There are different tenure arrangements for the use of the urban open spaces. In general, farmers do not own the land that is cultivated and very few of them pay a fee. Most of the open spaces in urban areas belong to public or private institutions. In the peri-urban areas, farming is done on lands earmarked for development. The farmers use various sources of water.
Most of the open-space farmers use water from drains, streams/rivers, hand-dug wells and if available, pipe borne water. In spite of its benefits, such as employment and access to food in Accra, urban and peri-urban agriculture is faced with challenges, such as limited access to land and insecurity; limited access to water resources; contamination of crops from poor quality water and improper use of pesticides; lack of an institutional framework; and lack of farmer organizations to facilitate advocacy and lobbying.
Urban and peri-urban agriculture, and related issues, in Accra currently fall under the jurisdiction of different levels and types of authorities. Although there is no specific policy on urban agriculture yet, smallholder agriculture development is highlighted almost in all major policies, programmes and projects such as Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, Modernization of the Capital City and Decentralization Policy. This allows better integration of it in the overall city development policies and programmes and this is being explored since 2006.
RUAF has been working in Accra since 2001, initially through the various programmes of IWMI, and since 2004 under the RUAF Cities Farming for the Future Programme (RUAF-CFF: 2004-2008), and the From Seed to Table Programme (RUAF-FStT: 2009-2011)
MULTI STAKEHOLDER ACTION PLANNING IN ACCRA
The Accra Working Group on Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture, AWGUPA, was constituted at the first multi-stakeholder forum, which was organised by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly-Ministry of Food and Agriculture (AMA-MoFA) and IWMI-RUAF in 2005. Since then several AWGUPA meetings have been organised. AWGUPA presently has a membership of twenty-seven institutions (previously fifteen at the start of the project). They are:
City Strategic Agenda
The City Strategic Agenda on urban agriculture (CSA) includes the agreed key issues on urban agriculture, the possible strategies and courses of action regarding each issue, the main actors involved and responsible for each action, and actual or potential funding.
In Accra IWMI selected to work with Enterprise Works http://www.ewghana.org/ in the support to 3 farmer groups: Dzorwulu , Plant Pool and Roman Ridge Areas.
After a participatory market analysis with these producer groups, they agreed to develop the market chain of a range of vegetables (like lettuce, cabbage, spring onions, cucumber, green pepper and cauliflower, but focusing in their production improvement on lettuce), including direct sales to restaurants and at farmer kiosks. The three producer groups agreed to develop a joint business plan under the name “CitiVeg”.
Short description of the business
The development of the business plan was supported by an “integrated innovation project” that sought to realize changes in critical points of the production, processing and marketing of a selected “most promising product” (technical innovations).
IWMI and EnterpriseWorks Ghana developed with the farmers various activities, to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurial capacities of the producers and their organization (organizational strengthening), to improve their access to finance through savings and loans groups, and with the farmers the Urban Producer Field School (UPFS) curriculum was developed on key technical and organizational innovations in the chain of vegetable production, packaging and marketing.
The UPFS sessions, which were held at the fields of the three farmer groups, included soil fertility management (the preparation and application of matured compost); nursery management, land preparation, risk reduction practices before and after harvesting, integrated pest management etc. (See photos below)
In addition to these technical innovations, the farmers were exposed to various options for marketing, the different consumer demands and what that meant for their production and marketing organization.
The farmers decided to produce in the three groups, and sell about 30% of their produce through the “CitiVeg” marketing outlets.
A. Female farmer practicing the turning of Compost.
Two of the vegetable shops (see photo below) are located at the University of Ghana, Legon campus and the Cooperatives Department Premises at the Ministries, and have started their operation at the end of 2010. The search for a third place is still ongoing. In addition to these kiosks, three packaging sheds have also been built; one at each of the three farming sites. Here, vegetables harvested will be given initial treatments: washing, grading and packaging, before sending to the outlets for sale.
To ensure effective cleaning/washing of the vegetables, clean treated water has been extended to each of the packaging sheds. The kiosks and the packaging sheds have been provided by the project to the farmer groups as a contribution to the revolving fund: from which farmers can borrow money for their personal needs and pay back into the fund with interest. Special levies on sales of vegetables will be charged which will be put back into the revolving fund. This has been factored into the business plan. In order to further develop their production, currently access to micro-financing is explored.
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