NORTHERN GHANA is a land of extremes. Dry season lasts for five to six months, and then rainy season often brings a heavy deluge that causes ‑ flooding, rotting crops, and collapsing adobe houses. Sometimes the rains begin so sporadically that farmers are unable to plant their seeds at the right time. All these inconsistent variables make it difficult for farmers, especially when they depend solely on their harvests to survive the coming year.
Economic factors can make it just as difficult for farmers to get ahead. Ethnic tensions have shaped Ghana’s society, and because the farmers in our area are of a minority ethnic group, they are often disadvantaged when they want to buy and sell. These farmers depend on high-interest loans to seed and fertilize their farms. Many are forced to sell their produce cheaply to pay back loans at harvest time. Often, they don’t have food to feed their families year-round. Obviously, the need for loans continues the following year and fuels a vicious cycle of debt and bondage.
How Agri-Plus and Savings Groups are helping
In spite of all these factors, we believe God has blessed the people in this region, even its poorest occupants, with the resources to raise themselves out of the pit of chronic poverty. Although we are still in the beginning stages, we are establishing SALT savings groups in the villages to make loans accessible and actually helpful.
In addition, we are experimenting with sustainable farming methods that will increase yields on the poor soil without putting a financial burden on the farmers. We are also working with crop storage methods, enabling people to keep their harvests, feed their families year-round, and sell at a better price.
Our desire is to help these farmers shift from their mindset of hopelessness and poverty to one of realizing and understanding God’s blessings and resources. The practical outworking of Agri-Plus must encompass this goal lest we add to their dependency rather than their empowerment.
Our SALT program work is done through established indigenous churches. We desire to encourage and bless these churches through Agri-Plus and other aspects of SALT. We pray they can be strengthened to be a light and testimony to areas that have yet to hear and understand God’s salvation through His Son Jesus.