IDH Regenerative Agriculture Field Day Exhibitions

Value Chain transformation has the mission of transforming value chains into more viable, inclusive and resilient ones, and when we talk about resilience, we talk about the environmental element: this means that we promote the best practices and develop innovations to think about the future of value chains from the environmental perspective.

Better environment is one of the thematic areas of IDH’s global initiatives to ensure that its core mandate of developing sustainable market systems are conducted in safer environment.

It is for this reason that the Grains for Growth program has started introducing the regenerative agriculture model to its SMEs in Ghana’s grain belt.

What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture basically focuses on farming systems that ensures the restoration of the topsoil whiles increasing food productivity in a sustainable manner.

Grains for Growth program has partnered with Nestle, one of its premium off takers who are now having a global sourcing policy to buy and offer premium prices to farmers producing under the regenerative agriculture principles in the coming years. This partnership is part of measures put in place by the Grain for Growth program to ensure that our SMEs are competitive to produce to meet the specification of off- takers including Nestle.

Under this initiative, Nestle, contracted the Center for No Till Agriculture (CNTA) to provide technical support to 2 of its SMEs (Sahel grains and Kedan Company) under the program on the principles of regenerative agriculture whiles the G4G program supported with basic inputs (seeds and fertilizers) and mechanization under the ripping technology.

However, the ripping technology being promoted by Nestle is most suitable for commercial farmers and does not serve many smallholder farmers due to the low availability of rippers to serve many farmers at the right time of the season.

To ensure inclusivity of regenerative agriculture technology to benefit majority of smallholder farmers, the G4G program introduced the basin technology as an alternative for the larger number of smallholder farmers who may not have access to mechanized regen services such as ripping, crimpling and planting services which are difficult to access. The basin technology does not require any external input in their construction. They require basic tools such as hoe or pick axes in their construction. Under this initiative, two SMEs (Agriaccess and U3 Agrinet) in the sorghum value chains were introduced to this technology through demonstration with impressive crop performance. Also, the program partnered with Rejuvenate Gaja Global limited, a Dutch based organic fertilizer company, to provide organic fertilizers to support the demonstrations.

To showcase the results of these initial commercial pilot with Nestle under the ripping technology and demonstrations under the basin technology to farmers, field days were held in five locations namely Ping, Piisi, Bugbelle, Bandei and Tongo-Balungu in the Upper West and Upper East regions of Ghana to show the superior performance of maize and sorghum under regenerative agriculture over conventional practices. As part of the field day organization, farmers were taken through various activities carried out on the fields, conducted round the fields to observe crop performance and sessions for questions and answers.

The field days attracted a total of 1026 farmers trained under the various modules of regenerative agriculture principles of farming.

From these initial commercial pilot and demonstrations, the Grain for Growth program with its partners have leant lessons that will be used to help assist farmers scale up on the technologies introduced in the coming season.