Sustainability Initiatives in Ghana

Abooman

Danielle Nierenberg with members of the Abooman Women’s Group in Ghana. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack and the AWG)

Practices that fit in the Triple Bottom Lines of sustainability have to be socially, economically and ecologically relatable to the region’s sustainable development. In Ghana, Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ECASARD), a unique organization that not only brings Muslim and Christian faith-based farmers, but also NGOs, policy makers and research institutions together to create and promote affordable, environmentally sustainable, socially just, and culturally acceptable agricultural innovations, was established in 1991. Among all the programs ECASARD runs, two directly address the food injustice in Ghana. One is Abooman Women’s Group (AWG), a co-op of women in organic diary industry. The AWG started off mixed of women and men, gradually, the women group dominated the organization by working more effeciently than men and making considerable profit during the off-season. This change initially invoked reproach, even fury, among male residents but their attitudes were changed by the handsome income their wives bring home.


 

“Change is coming gradually,” says Fatima, a female member of the AWG, “and it takes time to build up where you can safely say you can earn an income”.

Besides reliving rural poverty and securing the sustainability of diary supply in south Ghana, the AWG greatly facilitated gender equality in the community. Another project is the Ghana’s Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA). Located in Cape Coast, the capital of the Central Region, the CEWEFIA helps its members finding innovative and sustainable ways to increase the added value of their produce and improve the security of their food. In the Central Region, fishers faced the dilemma that good harvests always incur extremely low prices, and they also find storing excessive fish until off-season was impractical due to the high cost. To solve these problems, members of the CEWEFIA pooled fund to purchase materials—including packaging machineries that are used to produce dried fish, fish power out of their fresh fish. The third project is the Center for Indigenous Agriculture and Rural Development, which was established to address the problem in food security. Although Western breed of chicken was susceptible to the diseases in Ghana, the faCEWEFArmers still prefer exotic breed over native ones because of former’s superior quality. However, for chicken keepers in the Central Region, those plaguing diseases were too expensive to cure. Thus until Mr. Ankai-Taylor found that a cheap local herb healed the disease, the farmers left their flock untreated and product tainted. To promote this method and help farmers collaborating on future problems akin to this one, Mr. Ankai-Taylor established the Center for Indigenous Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the ECASARD.

As we have discussed, a justifiable food system fairly allocates interest and risks along the supply chain, thus all those efforts that promote the accountability of food production, in either social, economical or ecological sense, are all successful attempts to promote food justice in the region.