Despite the concerted efforts and diverse contributions of NGOs and other development partners to enhance food security and sustainable livelihood, poverty and hunger still remain priority issues to be resolved in Upper West Region of Ghana. The problem is the acute shortage of water and the local way of gardening in rural areas where access to both drinking water and productive water remains very low. The USAID WA-WASH program contributed to the provision of drinking and productive water to more than 8,000 people in the rural communities in Lawra and Nandom Districts in Ghana. The Program promoted the BAC gardening technique in two intervention villages of Tantuo and Koh-Gouri in Nandom and Lawra districts respectively. Two women groups from the two villages applied the technique. Applying this technique in the group gardening and at the household level will enhance food security and improve the socio-economic status of women in the communities.
Before the introduction of this technique, the women of the Koh Gouri community considered gardening as a burden. Women had to trek long distances to fetch water for domestic needs and gardening activities. The USAID WA-WASH introduced dry season gardening using the BAC gardening technique to reduce the burden on women in Nandom and Lawra districts . The BAC gardening technique conserves moisture in the soil and improves soil fertility therefore increasing the yields. Wooden boards are used to create a bed filled with mixture of soil and manure on a perforated black polythene sheet. To better conserve moisture, the farmers are trained on mulching. The women are proud of 325 square meters of garden planted with both local and exotic vegetables (see Photo). Some of the local vegetables grown include pumkin, amaranthus(alefu), hibiscus (bito), and beans. The exotic vegetables grown include lettuce, tomatoes and peppers. The women groups have been selling the produce at the local markets. The women group members express their happiness about the good results of the gardening activities. They acknowledge that the training on the technology has played an important role in improving the results of the gardening activities. The women are now prepared to expand the gardens as they have money from the sale of the produce. One of the women in the group said “We thought gardening was a burden because we needed to fetch water for domestic purposes and water plants as well. With the BAC gardening technique training given us, we do not need to water plants more frequently. With this type of gardens, I believe we can easily make them in our houses since we don’t need too much land and water”.