This article was written by Paul Yeboah, Permaculture Network President and Ghana Manager of Edge5 and Agnes Ameyaa the secretary of Permaculture Network – Ghana.
In the year 2004, Kristo Buase Monastery invited Greg Knibbs from Australia to teach at the monastery in the Techiman District in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. It is situated in the transition area between the Forest zone in the south of the country and the Savannah zone in the north. One of the most dominating landscape features of this area is the enormous sandstone rock outcrops (called ‘inselbergs’). Greg came for the purpose of running the first Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in Ghana. This initial course was for farm workers and the monks. A second course was conducted for the rest of the farm workers and some people from nearby communities. Paul Yeboah, the farm manager at that time, helped Greg Knibbs in the translation of the English language to Akan language for the course and was valuable in lecturing on local farming systems.
In December 2006 I left Monastery Forest Farm and am now the Ghana manager of Edge5 permaculture and the president of the Ghana Permaculture Network. Greg Knibbs helped our network financially and with advice on setting up the documents and helped in the drafting of Ghana Permaculture Network documents. The registration took place at the Supreme Court and Registrar General Department of Ghana. In August 2007, Greg Knibbs came back to Ghana and joined Paul Yeboah and Brie Frey (a Peace Corps volunteer) to conduct his second PDC in Techiman at the Expo Hotel. The course was conducted for the people from the following Organizations and communities:
- Abrono Organic Farming
- Heifer International
- Peace Corps Volunteers
- Organic Agriculture for Public Health and Wealth
- Business Advisory Centre
- Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture
- Krobo Community
- Kranka Community
Their were 50 course participants in total – 9 females, and 41 males. After the course Greg chose to help one tree nursery site in Techiman along Tano River Basin. After the course in 2007, Paul Yeboah started community and school tree nurseries and plantations. In November 2007, Paul Yeboah spoke with Nana Ankomah Frimpong (Chief of Twumia – Sanaahene of Techiman Traditional Area) to purchase ten acres of land .The aim for the land is to build a Permaculture Training Centre and Demonstration Site. Our aim is to accommodate foreigners and local people who are far from Techiman to teach the Permaculture concept and have cross cultural learning. The land is not yet acquired but Greg Knibbs and the network are trying to raise funds to develop the site. The photocopy of the original documents on the land has been given by the chief and waiting for the payment of the land before the original copies will be given. In the year 2008, Paul Yeboah on behalf of Edge5 and our network conducted another PDC for 50 students at the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture. In the year 2008, Paul Yeboah started community based permaculture including the Moringa project, which gives free moringa seeds and training workshops to 3,000 farmers. The purpose of the project are as follows:
- To reduce Malnutrition
- Provide Animal fodder
- Alley Cropping
- Water Purification
- Green Manure
- Herbal Medicine
In the same year he introduced Neem Oil and Neem Cake to the farmers for spraying, fertilization and nematode repellent. In the same year Paul again promised 300,000 trees for the UNEP Billion Tree Campaign programme. He was able to fulfill the promise and received a certificate of participation dated 18 September, 2008. In July 2009, Paul Yeboah started training people in some communities about permaculture and the use of fresh moringa leaves for soap and pomade. In August 2009, Greg Knibbs came to Ghana for the third time to join Paul to teach another PDC. The twenty participants came from different communities such as: Wenchi, Techiman, Nkwaeso, Tanoso, Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Asamankese and Barrington from USA.
The total of the moringa farmers has reached 5,000 and they are now working on 6,750 acres of land. The community and school’s nursery, Tree plantation, Moringa soap and Pomade, Free Moringa seeds, Training Workshops, Neem Oil and Neem Cake projects are ongoing. Some trainees, since 2004, have been doing: rain water harvesting, gardening, tree nursery and plantation, animal rearing, beekeeping and erosion control.
Paul is building relationships with the local schools such as: Permaculture education, Tree nursery and plantations, Composting, School gardening, Erosion control and linking school children in Ghana to Australian school children as pen friends (with Greg Knibbs). Paul is working with a women’s permaculture group of 100. These women are working on soil fertility management and using traditional herbs for cosmetics to generate income for their household. In 2008, the women’s permaculture group won the regional award for best soil fertility management from the Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The main challenge of permaculture network in Ghana is funds to develop the land and the building of the training centre and the demonstration site. Edge5 and the Ghana permaculture network are working towards raising approximately AU$10,000. Our aim is to have the on-the-ground training center where people can be trained in permaculture up to diploma level, for free over the course of two years. Our aim is to build up the numbers of local teachers and employ them to work in their communities and schools teaching permaculture design courses.
Paul Yeboah can be reached on yeboahpaul70 (at) yahoo.com