Abena Dansoa Ofori Amankwa | April 4, 2022
Ms. Nyamalor is a nutrition officer at Women in Agriculture Development, or WIAD, in Ghana. She trains women farmers on farming techniques that help them and their families to eat a nutritious diet, including backyard gardening. She says: “Many small-scale farmers do not prepare nutritious meals. Often they overcook vegetables so that their nutrients are lost. But let’s eat more fruits, cook our vegetables properly, drink a lot of water, and live a healthy lifestyle.” Ms. Nyamalor’s training has shown many women how to grow nutritious, pesticide-free food crops at home to supplement their income and diet. Peter Aboagye is the deputy director of agriculture and head of the nutrition unit at WIAD. He says that nutrition is a basic need for everyone, and reducing malnutrition can be achieved through food-based approaches such as growing nutrient-rich crops, particularly orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.
Agnes Nyamalor has just arrived at her office and she’s getting ready to train farmers on how to grow and eat nutritious food. She picks up her books and training materials and sets off to meet today’s training participants, who are mostly women.
Ms. Nyamalor says, “Many people get ill because they don’t eat nutritious food. I train people to eat well-balanced and nutrient-rich food so that they rarely get sick.”
She adds: “It is necessary to encourage women to improve their family’s diet to fight malnutrition. In particular, they must learn not to overcook their vegetables. I teach them that 50 per cent of their meals must be fruits and vegetables. I therefore encourage all of them to have a backyard garden.”
Ms. Nyamalor is a nutrition officer at Women in Agriculture Development, or WIAD, in Ghana. She trains women farmers on various farming techniques that help them and their families to eat a nutritious diet.
She says, “Due to inadequate knowledge, most women and their families don’t eat nutritious food.”
She adds: “Many small-scale farmers do not prepare nutritious meals. Often, they overcook vegetables so that their nutrients are lost. But let’s eat more fruits, cook our vegetables properly, drink a lot of water, and live a healthy lifestyle.”
Ms. Nyamalor says she trains farmers on various ways of improving their nutrition.
She explains: “I teach them to grow vitamin A- and iron-rich crops in their gardens. These include crops like okra, eggplant, and tomatoes. They should also make sure to plant at least one fruit tree in their gardens.”
Ms. Nyamalor says that, because of year-round shortages of water and the need to closely monitor crops, she encourages farmers to use the land at the back of their houses to grow their gardens.
She explains: “Encouraging more women farmers to practice backyard garden farming techniques to grow vegetables and fruits at home makes this practice more sustainable and cost-effective.”
Theresah Ayim is one of the farmers who has learned about backyard gardening from Ms. Nyamalor.
Mrs. Ayim says: “The backyard garden is really helpful to me. The crops look good and are nutritious. They are easily accessible, unlike going all the way to the market to buy nutritious foodstuffs.”
She adds, “The training has really helped my family. I hardly go to the market these days because now I have the food I once bought from the market right here at home.”
Peter Aboagye is the deputy director of agriculture and head of the nutrition unit at WIAD. He explains that nutrition is a basic need for everyone.
He says, “We are encouraging small-scale farmers to grow more nutritious foods for consumption and income.”
According to Mr. Aboagye, reducing malnutrition can be achieved through food-based approaches such as growing nutrient-rich crops, particularly orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.
He says: “Through an FAO-funded project that we are implementing, women groups are benefiting from training programs and demonstrations where they learn how to cook and eat nutrient-rich food.”
He adds: “The beneficiaries of the project are also being supported to grow and consume orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and other nutrient-rich foods using backyard gardening. The crops selected for this project include turkey berry, cowpeas, cocoyam leaves, chili pepper, green beans, okra, and hibiscus leaves.”
Mabel Fula is another farmer who practices backyard gardening in Bator. She says that home gardening helps her family consume food that is nutritious and free from chemicals.
Ms. Fula explains: “I can tell the difference from what I grow at home and what is being sold at the market. The market foods have a lot of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in them, but the ones I grow at home have none because I make my own organic fertilizer using fermented onion, which I sprinkle on the plants.”
Although Ms. Nyamalor is the nutrition teacher and trainer at WIAD, she also benefits by practicing backyard gardening at home.
Ms. Nyamalor explains: “The home garden helps me to eat nutritious food throughout the year. Plants from backyard gardens don’t die quickly because, by using organic manure, organic plants last longer. The plants also do not have chemicals in them, making them a fresh source of nutritious meals.”
This resource is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.