WEBSOC promotes growth and employment through research on green, cohesive Water, Energy-from-Biomass, Soil, Organics, and Crop management strategies in Ghana, as present agricultural development depends on deforestation and show little increase in productivity per unit of land. WEBSOC wants to intensify small-holder agriculture to create jobs in poor rural areas. The idea is that abundant crop residues from agriculture, when used to produce biochar and wood gas, lessen the pressure on forests for firewood. At the same time, agricultural production is boosted when biochar is applied to soils and CO2 emissions are reduced (read more)
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 (read more).
WEBSOC has conducted field experiments where maize was cultivated at Cape Coast and Kade for two seasons. Both places, adding biochar from pyrolysis of corn shank or rice straw increased yield with 25 – 40 %. “It’s really surprising” says coordinator Mathias Neumann Andersen from Aarhus University. “We didn’t expect such huge benefits because experiments in Denmark have shown much less response. Probably, the soils in Ghana are less fertile due to many years cultivation with too little supply of nutrients”. Moreover, the yield increasing effect of biochar came in addition to that of irrigation, so that combining the two seems really promising (read more).
PhD Emmanuel Amoakwah receives price for best alumni video from University of Ghent on his work in WEBSOC. View the video on how to use agriculture as a tool to alleviate poverty and hunger in Ghana and achieve SDG #1 and #2 via this link:
The project period is 1 January 2014 - 31 December 2019.
The project is partly funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre.