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USAID empowers rural communities through farming & mutual loans   
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The Coastal Sustainable Landscape Project(CSLP),initiated by the United States International Aid for Development(USAID) has deepened its commitment to sensitize rural communities in Ghana to embark upon sustainable livelihood empowerment projects.

The project which is being implemented by the United States (US) Forest Service International Programme in partnership with the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC), aims at training communities to engage in organic farming under its Smart Agricultural demonstration gardens and Voluntary Savings and Loans Association (VSLA).

Briefing journalists and settler farmers during a Field-Based Media Day at Bomokrom and Asonti in the Nzema-East Municipality, the Director of CSLP, Dr Steve Dennison reaffirmed his outfit’s readiness to empower rural communities to venture into Agriculture and mutual savings to ensure poverty reduction as part of the US government global hunger and food security initiative.

The field project was attended by experts from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Wildlife and Forest Service Division, the Town and Country Planning Authority, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ghana Education Service (GES), and the National Board for Small Scale Industry (NBSSI) who inspected Smart Agricultural Demonstration Gardens with purely organic vegetables.

Dr Dennison reiterated that the focus of CSLP was to among other things; engage the farmers in bee-keeping, organic farming, climate change and noted that VSLA seek to empower communities economically.

He encouraged the farmers to expand their vegetable farms through organic manure without using chemicals which may be injurious to human life.

He lauded the efforts of the farmers to pool their resources under the VSLA initiative to reap the mutual benefits thereof.

According to him, the project ends in August this year after 4 years in the communities, but was quick to urge them community leaders to continue with the project and make it more viable.

At Asonti members of the VSLA demonstrated how they pool their resources and accessed loans to meet certain expenditure in life.

The CSLP team later visited the Asonti Basic School to inspect its organic vegetable garden which started in 2015.

The headmaster of the school admitted that the Smart Agricultural project enabled the school to be selected as the best in Agriculture in the municipality.

He said the school applied coco pod to fertilize the soil before planting vegetables such as cabbages, lettuce among others with the use of the nim-tree, soap lather plus waste products from animals to control pests.

Dr. Dennison applauded the school children and charged them to buy into the Ministry of Food and Agriculture's planting for food and jobs policy to protect human life.

Source: GNA

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