Kwenorkie Adelah is a farmer and mother of 6 children. She started farming with her parents when she was only 13 years old and remembers when they farmed without the use of artificial fertilizer and pesticides. When she was 19, she married a larger scale farmer and was introduced to the use of herbicides for clearing weeds on the farm and the regular application of fertilizer and pesticides as the way to promote healthy growth of crops and keep off pests.
Together with her husband they have experienced a steady decline in crop yield over the years even with the application of fertilizer. To address what they considered as a normal ageing process affecting their land they increased the quantities of chemical inputs to the farms. As she explained 'just as an ageing person requires greater medical attention and the use of more medicines, it is natural for the land to require more fertilizer and pesticides to maintain a healthy crop in its old age'
More recently she noticed that her nephew, Joseph Kwablah, a member of the Ningo Organic Farmers Association over the past three years had maintained a 2 acre plot of land without using herbicides, pesticides or artificial fertilizer and had experienced a steady increase in yields of chili and okra.
He fed his crops with cow dung and compost from a modest heap in the corner of his farm. His net profit from his farm rose from less than 10% in year one to 80% early this year. She had seen her nephew apply the principles of organic agriculture promoted by ORT to take better control of his economic future.
Inspired by the achievements of her nephew, Kwenorkie joined the association in August this year and received training in mixed cropping, integrated pest management and crop rotation under an ORT funded project. She established a four acre organic maize farm in September with support for land clearing and nursery establishment provided by ORT. This freed up funds that would have gone into land clearing for carting cow dung to her farm.
Six weeks after sowing her maize crop, she is very excited about the prospects of a bumper harvest following an initial yield assessment by the Association. Her husband is impressed with the performance of her organic maize crop and is planning to convert 1/3 of his land under cultivation to organic agriculture. Given his social status, this shift will have a domino effect on the entire community with positive impacts on the stewardship of the biological and natural resources in an impoverished Guinea Savanna region of West Africa through the adoption of organic farming methods.