**Promoting Agroecology in West Africa: An Inspiring Field Visit to Ghaa**
Tuesday, 7 November, 2023 - 22:15

A field visit recently took place in Kumasi, Ghana, highlighting efforts to promote agroecological approaches in the region. The visit was the culmination of a workshop organised by ECOWAS as part of its West Africa Agroecology Programme (“PAE” in french), co-funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU).

*The ECOWAS Agroecology Programme: A Commitment to a Sustainable Future*

The PAS was launched in 2018 in response to the climate challenges and vulnerability of family farms in West Africa. Its aim is to support the agroecological transition to enable family farms to reconcile economic performance, food security, resilience, environmental preservation and people's health.

The workshop, held in Kumasi, Ghana, brought together the PAE National Correspondents, the focal points in the Member States, the Alliance for Agroecology in West Africa (3AO) and the Programme Coordination Unit. It enabled these players to take stock of the 2023 activities and to plan the 2024 activities of the programme at national level, in particular to set up sustainable national consultation frameworks on agroecological transitions. But it was the field visit that attracted the most attention, highlighting some concrete agroecological practices on the ground and the inspiring initiatives underway. This approach was a welcome break from the routine of workshops of this kind, which are usually devoted solely to the classroom.

*The Field Visit: A Dive into the Heart of Agroecology*

During the field trip, participants had the opportunity to visit demonstration sites of the PAE-supported partnership project in Ghana, formed by the consortium CNTA (Centre of No-Till Agriculture), CRI (Crop Research Institute) and NAFFAWAG (National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana). They were able to observe a variety of agroecological practices in action, including a climate-smart variety of maize (Opeaburo), maize relay cropping with Canavalia, improved fallow with Mucuna and mulching of residues on plots.

During the visit, the CNTA also demonstrated its farm mechanisation system for covering the soil with straw, showing how technology can be put to use in agroecology.

Finally, the mission continued at the CNTA itself, which has various demonstrations for in situ training of farmers. As well as cover crops (mucuna, cowpea, lentil, cajanus, etc.), other species (taro, maize, gengimbre), agroforestry, demonstrations of rainwater harvesting to water crops, watering systems, etc.), but also other species (taro, maize, gengimbre), agroforestry, demonstrations of rainwater harvesting to water crops, a small-scale watering system (home garden) using bottles of mineral water, windbreak systems, and demonstrations of the effect of soil erosion under different cultivation practices (slash-and-burn with ploughing / mulching without ploughing / mulching + stone strips and vegetative strips without ploughing).

*A Vision of a Promising Future*

Initiatives in the field have shown that agroecology is not just a concept, but a tangible reality, with a positive impact on farmers, the environment and local communities.

The commitment of regional players to this field visit is testament to their determination to promote sustainable agricultural practices on a large scale and create a more resilient future for West Africa.

To find out more about CNTA, click on this link: https://centrefornotill.org/  

Read the latest Newsletter of the ECOWAS Agroecology Programme: