Home » Backyard Gardening Emerges as Key to Tackling Ghana’s Food Security

Backyard Gardening Emerges as Key to Tackling Ghana’s Food Security

Ghanaians Turn to Backyard Gardens for Sustainable Livelihoods

by Adenike Adeodun

In Sorugu, a suburb of Sagnarigu, Alhassan Mutaru, a 34-year-old farmer, dashes into his backyard garden to harvest cassava and yam for his family’s dinner. This small-scale mixed farming approach, which combines crop cultivation and poultry rearing, serves as a vital lifeline for many Ghanaian families like Mutaru’s in the country’s quest for food security.

According to a report by the Daily Graphic, Mutaru, who also cultivates 10 acres of maize and soybeans for commercial purposes, credits his backyard garden, a recommendation from an agricultural extension officer, as a transformative force in his family’s life. He highlights the benefits of having immediate access to fresh, organic food, which has removed the need to buy foodstuffs.

Similarly, Mariam Alhassan, a 52-year-old teacher from Tamale Metropolis, depends on her backyard garden to meet her family’s food requirements. Cultivating various crops and rearing poultry, she ensures a steady food supply all year round.

Once a widespread practice across Ghana, backyard gardening has become rare in many homes, giving way to the expanding urban population. Yet, for individuals like Mutaru and Alhassan, these gardens provide not just food but also contribute significantly to their livelihoods and nutritional security, especially in peri-urban and urban settings.

Issahaku Yabdow, a Management Information System Officer at the Yendi Municipal Department of Food and Agriculture, underscores the role of backyard gardening in supplementing household incomes and bolstering food security. He also points out the health benefits it offers as a form of physical exercise.

The decline in backyard gardening presents a serious challenge to Ghana’s food security, particularly in fast-growing urban areas. According to the International Trade Administration, Ghana continues to be a major importer of food products, with agriculture-related imports reaching $2.6 billion in 2022. With the global population expected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050, the demand for increased food production and diverse approaches like backyard gardening becomes increasingly critical.

The government faces calls to encourage home gardening and collaborate with organizations to expand this practice. The experiences of families like those of Mutaru and Alhassan advocate for wider adoption of backyard gardening to ensure food and nutritional security for more households.

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