Forty young ginger farmers at Bunso and other communities in the Eastern Region have been taken through the rudiments of organic ginger cultivation.
The training is to increase the cultivation of the root crop to boost production for local consumption and export.
The exercise was conducted by Ecoland Ghana, an international non-governmental organisation and the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies (UCAES) located at Bunso in the Eastern Region.
As part of the training, high-yielding disease-free ginger seedlings have been imported from Nigeria to be cultivated on a demonstration farm within the premises of the university.
The project is code-named Ecoland Ghana Organic Agriculture Demonstration and Research Field in partnership with the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies (UCAES).
No financial burden
Addressing the participating farmers last Thursday, the President of Ecoland International, Rudolf Buhler, said the application of the organic method would not place any financial burden on the farmers, since no fertiliser had to be purchased to grow the crop.
According to him, all that the farmer needed was animal droppings, particularly cow-dung, adding that organic application was not harmful to human beings since no chemicals would be applied.
He said the initiative was being executed through the partner Africa project within the framework of special training and job creation.
Diploma in organic farming
He said a diploma programme in organic agriculture on ginger cultivation would soon be introduced at the university.
Through that, he said, research would be conducted and training in organic cultivation of the root crop offered.
Two farmer co-operative groups, he indicated, would also be formed which would involve many farmers who would follow organic farming and also introduce new cash crops.
Mr. Buhler told the farmers that marketing their products would not be a problem because the NGO would ensure that cultivated crops got good prices, particularly on the export market.
Mr. Buhler indicated that the German government was financing the project with Ecoland International as the implementing agency and that similar projects had been undertaken in other countries such as India and Tanzania, among others.
He was hopeful that the partnership between Ecoland International and the university as well as other partners would be beneficial to the students as well as the young farmers in the area.
The Acting Rector of the University, Dr. Charles Brempong Yeboah, who was highly elated said in Ghana not many universities taught organic farming and that UCAES was happy to be assisted by Ecoland to go into that new area of farming.
He stressed that the university which had already initiated organic training and had many farmers within its catchment area benefited from it.
He said due to the high cost of fertiliser, it had become necessary for farmers to revert to the natural way of cultivation, which is organic farming.
One of the farmers, Abiba Iddrisu, who has been cultivating ginger for close to six years, told the Daily Graphic that she had been using chemicals in her cultivation of the crop but had realised that although the yield was good, it was harmful for human consumption.