A lecturer at the School of Agriculture, Dr. Frank Kwekucher Ackah, has inspired some students of the University to enter into gardening in their halls of residence.
Through Dr. Ackah’s guidance, 40 students have cultivated cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, spring onions, and garden eggs. The students have cultivated the vegetables mainly in waste plastic buckets/containers and sacks in Adehye, Casely Hayford, Ogua, Valco, Kwame Nkrumah, and SRC Halls.
Students from Valco Hall display their fresh cucumber from their garden
SDG Goal 2
Dr. Ackah noted that the initiative was in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 which seeks to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.
According to Dr. Akah, the initiative was intended to develop the interest of students in gardening in particular and agriculture in general. He said the project was also aimed at attracting the youth into agriculture so that they could earn a living and create employment for others after their university education. "Unemployment in this country is a disturbing phenomenon and I believe there are a lot of job opportunities in agriculture which the youth can explore to improve their living conditions," he emphasised.
In his view, taking the students through gardening would inspire them to make good use of any space around them to cultivate vegetables and even enter into large-scale commercial production for the country and export abroad. “I am passionate about agriculture and my goal is to mobilise the youth for development in the country. I have started this initiative with level 100 Agri-Business students with the aim of making Ghana the food basket of Africa and possibly the world in the near future,” he explained.
Dr. Ackah with students from Kwame Nkrumah displaying their harvested vegetables
Touching on the benefits of gardening, he indicated that the students could save money from buying vegetables and also add to the nutritional requirements of the body. “Some of the vegetables we buy from the open market are not well handled and their sources are mostly not known," he added.
Dr. Ackah was happy to note that some staff of the University had embraced home gardening and were cultivating vegetables in their backyard. “Lecturers from the School of Agriculture continue to support staff of the University who have cultivated vegetables and other crops,” he reported.
Fresh lettuce from Adehye Hall garden
Home Gardening Facebook Page
In order to spread home gardening nationwide, Dr. Ackah said he had created a Facebook page with more than 60, 000 members from all over the country. He explained that some lecturers from the School of Agriculture on the page give expert advice to members on vegetables and other crop production. He added that he had extended the initiative to some churches and basic schools in the Central Region. “This is our contribution to promoting home gardening in Ghana. We always receive calls from individuals and several organisations for guidance on how to start gardening in the home and on a large commercial basis”.
Dr. Ackah was optimistic that the future looked very bright considering the enthusiasm and interest of the youth in agriculture in recent times.
Casely Hayford Hall garden
Some of the students who are involved in the initiative were full of joy to see their vegetables blossom during a visit to Adehye and Valco Halls. Three students successfully harvested lettuce which they cultivated three weeks ago.
Rasheedatu Seidu Ali, a beneficiary student said she was really excited to be part of the project. “At the initial stages, our friends were mocking us but when they saw that the vegetables were matured for harvesting, they began to show interest in the project” she averred.
She mentioned that the most fulfilling part of the project was harvesting the vegetables, adding “You feel proud that your hard work has yielded good results”
Dr. Ackah introducing pupils at Hill Crest School in Cape Coast to gardening in sacks
Comfort Appiah who is also a level 100 Agri-Business student indicated that she has plans of introducing her family to home gardening during vacation. She added that the project had inspired her to enter into large-scale vegetable production. “We started this project just three weeks ago and I feel very excited that I have been able to harvest my lettuce,” she stated.
The students urged their colleagues and the youth to take interest in home gardening considering its enormous economic and nutritional benefits. They appealed to the Management of the University to support the initiative and make it a University-wide project for students.