Grains for Growth and U3 Agrinet creating opportunities

It is essential to provide support to those who are vulnerable, especially those with disabilities, to enable them to participate in economic activities that can generate sustainable, dignified, and rewarding incomes. Women, youth, persons with disabilities, and displaced societies are critical stakeholders in the Grains for Growth Project led by IDH and financed by the Mastercard Foundation

Based on the 2021 Population and Housing Census, the Ghana Statistics Services have identified the Upper East Region as one of the poorest regions with a high illiteracy rate. Although it is challenging to obtain credible data on persons with disabilities, the situation of people with disabilities in the region is becoming a growing concern. Reports indicate that graduates from the Gbeogo School for the Deaf in the Talensi District are often forced to work as laborers in the market to make a living. This is a physically demanding and unsustainable source of income that also poses a high risk of physical injury or even death

It is crucial to consider the inclusion of persons with disabilities (PwDs) in the design and implementation of economic policies, reforms and programmes, including agricultural projects, as demonstrated in the G4G Project.

U3 Agrinet, as part of the G4G Project, placed a high priority on the inclusion of vulnerable individuals such as women, youth, PwDs and displaced persons: Out of the 1,207 participants, 128 were persons living with various types of disabilities.

U3 Agrinet provided these vulnerable individuals with bundled services such as land access, input credits, mechanisation services, training and market linkages. Additionally, U3 Agrinet provided transportation assistance to enable PwDs to attend every single Good Agronomic Practice (GAPs) training held at the various model farms. Collectively, the PwDs were supported to cultivate a total of 37 acres (18 acres of sorghum and 19 acres of maize) across the in-grower and out-grower scheme of the U3 Agrinet model.

Following the good rains, supported farm management and practices, the outcomes of farms dedicated to PwDs shows high yield at an average of 0.8mt sorghum and 1.4mt maise.

Many PwDs, including Mr. Kojo Akooyine are celebrating the successes and optimistic of good market prices with Guinness Ghana Limited and Flour Mill Tema for the supply of sorghum and maise. As part of our sustainability plan, U3 Agrinet will recover an in-kind (grains) payment of only 0.2mt of sorghum and 0.4mt of maise as recovery for the bundled services provided per acre. Also, as part of our strategies to ensure equity, the recovery paid by PwDs is 30% less of what other vulnerable groups will pay as in-kind recovery in return. In return, PwDs will earn a profit equivalent to the market value of 0.6mt of sorghum or 1mt of maise. This is a game-changing story of the PwDs who participated in the 2023/2024 crop season under the G4G Project. “I will forever remain grateful to G4G for making me a proud farmer,” Kojo said.

It is, therefore, important to work with people with disabilities to identify their needs and develop solutions that are tailored to their specific circumstances. By working together, we can create a more inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential
Here are some of the recommendations for supporting people with disabilities to participate in agricultural projects for

• Increased access to land and input credit: Liaise with traditional authorities to secure, and develop lands and provide inputs credit to vulnerable groups.

• All-year production for food security: People with disabilities can produce their own food, which can help to reduce their reliance on food aid throughout the year. • Increased income: People with disabilities can sell their produce, which can help them
to generate income and improve their standard of living.
• Increased social inclusion: Participation in agricultural projects can help people with disabilities feel more connected to their community and reduce stigma.

• Improved health and well-being: Working in agriculture can be physically demanding, but it can also be a source of exercise and fresh air.