Report on Permaculture Design at Alhassan Akuraa, Buipe, Ghana

Editor’s Note: For background on this report, see Paul’s previous post.

On the 1st August 2011 the Permaculture Network Ghana undertook a project in collaboration with Harvesters Mission at Alhassan Akuraa, which includes a food forest establishment, nursery establishment, paddock systems, soil treatment and the likes.

Alhassan Akuraa is a village located in the Brong Ahafo region and it shares the boundary with the northern Black Volta region. It has a population of about five hundred. Of the five hundred, 50% are into fishing, 40% farming and the remaining 10% other trades.

The 40% involved in agriculture face several issues, which include:

  • Infertile land and land degradation
  • Poor livestock house systems
  • Inadequate use and availability of organic fertilizer to enrich the soil, including biomass
  • Poor waste water management
  • Deforestation.

Activities

The major activities carried out include:

  • Survey: Reconnaissance was done on the field land. Peg lines were marked out to know the total area of the land.
  • Soil treatment: To improve the fertility of the soil organically we planted nitrogen fixing trees, applied animal droppings, mulch and compost and planted green manure.
  • Food forest establishment: This was done by cultivation of annuals, biannuals, perennials, climbers and ground covers which support each other in the production.
  • Earth works: This is a design system that involves light soil dug out to provide enough space for water catchment and high nutrient build up in the soil. This provides more yield since the plants get sufficient moisture and nutrients and can support more plants.
  • Nursery establishment: This new nursery will provide seedlings for establishment of wood lots. It will also encourage tree planting in individual houses to provide shade and combat deforestation. Some of the tree species in the nursery are moringa, cassia, mahogany, leucaena, teak and cashew.
  • Paddock systems: Paddock systems were designed with palatable grasses, fodders and nitrogenous fodders in an enclosed space with the intention of providing good housing systems for livestock and feed.
  • Living fence: The main purpose of establishing the live fence is to prevent intruders like animals from entering the gardens and to save money from not having to purchase wire mesh.

The minor activities carried out include:

  • Planting of nitrogenous seedlings, seeds and cuttings in alley.
  • Reshaping of beds
  • Manuring
  • Mulching
  • Transplanting of vegetable seedlings, suckers, cuttings and sowing of seeds.

Problems

  • Poor involvement by community members
  • Destruction of farm crops by predators. Examples goat, sheep and cattle
  • Delays in providing the resources for the project (labour and other materials)
  • High intensity of sunlight, making it difficult to work in the afternoon and killing the younger vegetable seedlings
  • Impotable drinking water
  • Poor accommodation

Suggestions

  • Community members should be well informed of any project before the team’s arrival.
  • There should be regular supply of labour to enable smooth work.
  • Materials needed for the project should be provided on time as requested.
  • Animals like goat and sheep should be kept indoor to prevent the destruction of crops.
  • Complete accommodation should be provided

Experiment with Applying Neem Oil

During the project the team observed that the vegetables had been attacked by pest and diseases. Due to this the team carried out a controlled experiment with neem which was very effective after applying at regular intervals.

Results

The results show that after neem oil was applied at regular intervals there was a massive reduction of pest and disease. Secondly, there was improvement in the formation of leaves.

Recommendation

It is recommended that when there is a severe attack on a field, neem oil should be applied at 3-day intervals. Thereafter, the application should be at 7-day intervals.

Conclusion

To conclude, there is a saying that everything that has a beginning also has an end. However, the first part of work of the permaculture team was brought to an end successfully on 30 September, /2011.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks go to Mr. and Mrs. Ruff, the Harvester Mission and finally the family of Mr. and Mrs. lsaac. The team also recommend Fusani Dadea for his hard work.

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