In order to meet the challenge of sustainably feeding 9.8 billion people by 2050, the agricultural sector will need to undergo major transformation, especially within the context of climate change and the rapid degradation of many agricultural regions. Achieving this transformation will require a rethinking of how we cultivate land, how we consume food, the ethical links between the production and consumption of goods as well as the economic and social ties between developing and developed countries.
While not the only answer, a combination of agro-ecological and market-based approaches will be an important solution to drive change, namely by providing the sustainability, stability, efficiency and market-based incentives to power a large-scale effort which strengthens the capacities and improves the living conditions of rural communities as well as regenerating the land upon which they depend for their livelihoods.
Small-scale, biologically diverse, family-run and community-run farming can also address challenges related to poverty, social unrest, economic, social and gender inequality, climate change, species extinctions, loss of biodiversity and the long-run viability of humans on planet Earth.
ABOUT ALEWA ECOVILLAGE
Alewa Ecovillage is a charity based in Enyan Denkyira in the Central Region of Ghana.
Our project addresses issues of poverty, food security, environmental degradation and livelihoods by empowering local farmers through agro-ecological farming methods and connecting them to local and global markets for organic crops and high-value moringa-based natural products.
We aim to encourage healthy, prosperous and self-sustaining communities by re-establishing local farming knowledge, introducing permaculture and agro-ecology to local farming practices and breaking the destructive cycles poverty, poor crop yields and of chemical fertiliser and pesticide dependencies.
Officially registered in 2020, the organisation works with local stakeholders in order to supply organically-certified crops and Moringa Oleifera products of the highest quality to the nutritional, health and beauty markets both locally and around the world.
In the face of rural poverty and the nefarious effects of climate change on communities, Alewa Ecovillage inscribes itself as part of a wider movement which is working towards making modern society more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable.
HOW IT WORKS
With local stakeholders at the centre of the project, we provide farmers with organic seeds, natural fertilisers and financing as needed as well as training and sensitisation workshops so to enable them to kickstart their organic farms and the production of moringa.
Alewa Ecovillage offers them a fair and equitable price for the seeds and leaves, which are brought to a community-led processing centre to be turned into moringa-based health products such as food supplements, tea and oils to be sold in local as well as international markets.
Where Are We Now?
We are currently seeking seed funding to initiate the first stage of the project which involves the development and expansion of the small-scale production of the Moringa plant and other beneficial crops – such as hibiscus, lemongrass, turmeric, citronella, artemisa and a variety of fruit and legumes – in the local community.
The funding would apply to the first stage of a longer term project, to test the viability of innovative farming techniques which involve intercropping in order to improve yields and free local farmers from chemical pesticide and fertiliser dependencies.
This stage would involve:
Purchasing 4 plots of land (totalling an acre) and the necessary tools and equipment
Training local employees to grow the plants and manage the plots (we currently have almost 1000 existing seedlings ready to plant), including growing other complementary crops in the same plots
Creating a communal space and training centre which will enable the active participation of local stakeholders, the running of training and capacity-building workshops, and act as a space where participants can express their views and provide valuable feedback for the further development of the project