Land Restoration for Food and Jobs in the Northern Savannah Zones

Due to the increased degradation of natural resources and decreased income opportunities, almost one in every five people born in northern Ghana is today leaving to southern Ghana.

In order to create new job opportunities and improve food self-sufficiency in the North, the Government of Ghana has launched the initiatives ‘One District, One Factory’ and ‘Planting for food and jobs’. The ‘One-District-One-Factory’ program is aimed at establishing, at least, one factory or enterprise in each of the 216 districts of Ghana as a means of creating economic growth poles that would accelerate the development of those areas and create jobs for the teeming youth. The main goal of the policy is to transform the structure of the economy from one dependent on production and export of raw materials to a value-added industrialized economy, driven primarily by the private sector.

The ‘Planting for Food and Job’ campaign call on every single Ghanaian to take farming as a full time or part time activity. The policy is built on five major pillars: (i) supply of improved seeds to farmers at subsidized prices (50% subsidy); (ii) supply of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices (50% price cut); (iii) free extension services to farmers; (iv) marketing opportunities for produce after harvest; (v) e-agriculture, a technological platform to monitor and track activities and progress of farmers through a database system. The five crops subsidized in the initial pilot phase are: maize, rice, soybeans, sorghum and vegetables (tomato, onion and chili pepper). To be part of the campaign, a farmer requires a minimum of 2 to 3 acres.

Building on these policies, the 3S project in Ghana aims at restoring 400,000 hectares of land in 14 districts in the Northern Savannah Zones (NSZ) and Ecological Transition Zone of the Eastern Region, Ghana and creating 12,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs in 3 years. These jobs will be created by: (i) re-activating or expanding the processes of existing rural agro-processing industries (tomato, shea butter, fruit juice, moringa); (ii) agricultural waste-based biomass energy retooling with improved energy-efficient cook-stoves (bamboo and rattan); (iii) domestic waste management for biogas production; (iii) improved food crop production through rainwater management.