A team of researchers from the University has introduced stakeholders in the Cape Coast metropolis to new methods of cultivating crops on unused and underutilised spaces in urban areas.
The team of researchers are Dr. David Oscar Yawson (PI), Dr. Michael Osei Adu, Prof. Frederick Ato Armah and Dr. Paul Agu Asare.
The researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are undertaking a project dubbed “Piloting Edible Urban Landscape (Greenhouse)-Agriculture for Food Security 2030 (AgriFoSe2030)“ , under the auspices of the Centre for Environmental and Sustainability, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The project is being managed by the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy of UCC with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Addressing the stakeholders on a demonstrated greenhouse field at the Lecturers Village and the College of Distance Education Flats on campus, a member of the research team, Dr. Michael Osei Adu, observed that land use was poorly planned and urban land has not been a priority over the years. He said parcels of land in urban areas were sometimes invaded by squatters, hideouts for miscreants and reptiles.
Dr. Adu explained that the overall goal of the project was therefore, to convert unused lands in urban areas to a more efficient use of human, financial and natural resources while enhancing socio-economic and environmental sustainability. He further indicated that the team has successfully demonstrated the idea by installing two unit greenhouses together with watering facilities and inputs in residential areas on UCC campus. He explained that the team engaged the services of women and youth within the communities surrounding UCC to produce food and earn incomes from undertilised and idle spaces.
According to Dr. Adu, “The project addresses two cross-cutting themes on women and youth and sustainable intensification and socio-economic dimensions of smallholder agriculture and multifunctional landscapes in agriculture”. He emphasised that the project when adopted in the country has the potential to generate value from idle spaces in a multifunctional perspective to enable Ghanaians especially, the teeming unemployed youth to earn a living.
Stakeholders including community leaders, staff of Ministry of Agriculture, farmers and youth groups had the opportunity to examine the tomato plantation in the two installed greenhouse facilities on campus. Some of the stakeholders commended the researchers and urged them to engage the Ministry of Agriculture and the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to implement the novelty to alleviate poverty in the country.