Growing vegetables means more income, diversified livelihoods and better protected children.
Joseph Oppong lives in Bekwai, Adankragya. He is a 60 year old cocoa farmer with 5 children. His eldest child is in the Training College and the youngest is in Junior High School form 1. Joseph is one of the cocoa farmers benefiting from the ongoing support for Income Generation Activities among the Nestle Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) communities in Ghana. He has been trained together with 17 other beneficiaries from his community on good agronomic practices in okro and garden eggs cultivation.
“I am very pleased with this opportunity to be supported for the cultivation of vegetables alongside our cocoa. This will really improve our livelihood. We really appreciate the fact that we have been assisted with all that we will need to successfully cultivate the crops. We have been given okro seedlings with some garden eggs to start our farms. We have also received various agricultural inputs necessary for a successful season. We really appreciate this support. When we were told to prepare our lands to start this, we took it lightly because a lot of such promises have been made by other organisations and individuals without being fulfilled. We did not commit much time to the land preparation process. With this proof of the seriousness of this project, we are now rushing to complete it. We will ensure that we do a good job so we can benefit from this support for a long time,” Joseph Oppong said.
So how will your involvement in the IGA ensure that your children are no longer engaged in child labour?, we asked.
“Due to the financial hardships associated with living in a rural community, we often dont have enough money. With this support, we are really going to see a lot of improvement in our lives, especially judging from the fact that the necessary inputs were supplied to us free of charge. I know that we are being supported to do this so our children do not engage in child labour. I am going to ensure that this purpose is realized as I become more protective of my children and their welfare. I know that to really benefit from this support, I must be able to sustain it. It is my duty to ensure that I put some of the money made from this support aside to fund next year’s IGA.”
According to the Field Associate in charge of the Nestle CLMRS project, Charles Fosu Ansong, this training is being carried out in collaboration with the department of Agriculture in each of the districts. It is very specific because beneficiaries in each community are interested in working on a different vegetable. The training is carried out based on the specific vegetable to be cultivated. The components of the training are nursery management, transplanting, pest and disease management and marketing and record keeping.
“The purpose for this training is for the farmers to have their capacity built in the cultivation of the crop they chose to work with. This will ensure good agronomic practices with regards to that crop. He went on to explain that the farmers are being supported because their children have been identified as being either at risk of or engaged in child labour. During the data collection, most of them sighted the lack of funds to hire adult labour as the main reason why they are using their children on the farm. We therefore decided to support them with an income generating activity through which they can get a regular income to hire the necessary adult labour to assist with the farm work.”
In all 378 farmers in 39 communities will be engaged in the IGA to cultivate rice, maize, tiger nuts and vegetables like okro, garden eggs, cabbage, onions, ginger, red and green peppers and tomatoes. The beneficiaries will be supported with the necessary seeds and agronomic products such as fertilizers, insecticides, weedicides and fungicides.