Green Cohesive Agricultural
Resource Management WEBSOC

WEBSOC wants to promote growth and employment through research on green, cohesive Water, Energy-from-Biomass, Soil, Organics, and Crop agricultural management strategies in Ghana, as present agricultural development depends on deforestation and show little or no increase in productivity per unit of land. WEBSOC is intended to intensify agriculture to create jobs in poor rural areas. 

The project will investigate the use of crop residues to produce biochar and wood gas for household-use to lessen the pressure on forests for firewood and charcoal as an intelligent way of recycling organics and reducing CO2 emission. The application of biochar to agricultural fields increases carbon sequestration into the soil and thereby represents a CO2-negative approach to sustainable increase soil fertility, crop yields, and carbon storage. Further intensification will be achieved by small-scale solar drip fertigation systems allowing one to two more growing seasons per year to produce high-value horticultural crops. This is a triple-win situation where farmers get sustained higher yields (from irrigation and improved soil fertility), CC gas emissions are reduced (from increased carbon sequestration), and households get energy (from pyrolysis of straw). Finally, agricultural value chains, both on the supply and processing side, will be developed in cooperation between local SMEs and universities. The research into these options will be pursued within a framework designed to educate PhD students and young scientists.  

Publications highlights

Smart Irrigation Technology for SSA Small-holders

In Ghana, the Volta River every second discharge 1,200 cubic meter of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean or enough to supply more than 2 million hectares of land with irrigation and still maintains its environmental flow. There is a substantial need to increase irrigation in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), which is below 5 % of the agricultural area despite abundant water resources. Drip irrigation has been promoted as an appropriate technology for small-scale farmers. However, such systems have been abandoned in many places because they were too laborious to operate. In a recent article in the Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, researcher Eric Oppong Danso from the Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre, University of Ghana describes the development and test of a low-cost, solar-panel driven automatic system. The key-feature of this system is a siphon, which delivers intermittent doses of water to pressurize the drip system, resulting in excellent irrigation uniformity and the possibility of unattended operation of the irrigation system. This is the first time such siphon has been combined with small so-called family drip systems. It also allows upgrading existing systems with the siphon at a very low cost. The siphon makes it possible to cut operation time from hours to minutes on a daily basis. Often small-scale farmers in the SSA are offered low-technological solutions, to keep costs down or because few companies see a market that can justify substantial R&D activities. Nevertheless, it will to a large extent be small-scale farmers in SSA, who have to solve the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 2: Zero Hunger, as most people going hungry are located in the SSA with a fast growing population. The rapid spread of mobile phone services in the same area shows that individualised smart technologies are readily adopted despite low economic resources.


Publication overview

All publications from the project is listed here.


  The project period is 1 January 2014 - 31 December 2018 and the project is funded by Danida Fellowship Centre.