The big impact of composting

Photo credit: Jesse Winter

Adam Yakuba stands among stalks of maize taller than he is. On a farm down the road the corn barely reaches his waist.

The difference comes down to one thing: compost.

Adam, 31, is a farmer from Zosali, in the Northern Region of Ghana.

The maize on his farm was sown at the same time as the farm in the fields, says Adam.

“When you look at my farm, it’s almost yielding. Those at the farm are just some tiny, tiny lesser crops,” he says.

Adam listens to a farm radio program about climate change broadcast on Might FM.

The program teaches farmers techniques to help with changing weather patterns and erratic rainfall. One of its main focuses is soil health, including compost.

“Previously here was just a rubbish dump,” says Adam. “We did not used to farm here, but because of listening to the radio program from Might FM on the composting, I looked at it and I decided to level it so it can help me to plant my maize.”

The programs on composting and climate change have also been helpful for female farmers, many of whom never even considered farming before tuning in.

Feruza Sulemana, a female farmer from Zosali, says she’s seen an increase in the yield on her farm, without resorting to expensive fertilizer, because of what she learned about compost.

“Due to the program I have been able to cater for my kids schooling. First there were breaks in schooling. Sometimes the children could go to school, but due to school fees they would remain in the house for some time,” Feruza says. “But now, since the beginning of the program we have never faced any difficulties or challenges. The children are always in school.”

However, many female farmers struggle to dig the large holes needed for the compost, and to carry the compost to their farms. Adam tries his best to help the female farmers in his area.

“I used to help them because they are my sisters and mothers,” he says. “Whoever comes, if she is interested I let her remove [the compost] so I will refill again.”

With neighbours supporting each other and sharing what they are learning, Might FM’s climate change broadcast is having a big impact. Might FM’s program also discusses ploughing to better take advantage of rainfall and proper spacing for crops. This information can help farmers increase their yield — and their income.

Tara Sprickerhoff
About the author  
Tara Sprickerhoff is a recent graduate of Carleton University’s Bachelor of Journalism program. She is spending the summer working in Accra, Ghana as a journalism intern with Farm Radio International. Tara aspires to one-day work in radio herself, as she is happiest when she is able to give others a voice to share their own stories and passions.

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