In the small village of Kinklin in Ghana’s East Gonja District, there was a determined farmer named Libakitib Caesar, who transformed his fields and productivity through innovation and hard work. Caesar faced a common challenge – the scarcity and high cost of labour for farming. Many farmers, including Caesar, used to plant rice in the traditional way (broadcasting), which was not a sustainable way of farming because farmers can end up wasting more seeds and have a poor plant population.
Drudgery is a constant companion for most small farmers in rural Africa. They lack exposure to new, small but efficient farming technologies that could make their lives easier. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship project, however, brought a ray of hope. It provided 243 small, practical tools to farmers. These included Planters that helped with planting in neat rows and dibbling fertilizer evenly, solar knapsack sprayers that simplified spraying, and tarpaulins that protected grains from debris.
Caesar, a 36-year-old farmer with a family, lives in Kinklin and is an active member of the 4R co-operative. He attended a technology fair organized by the project in 2021 where he saw fellow farmers benefitting from these new tools. One tool that caught his attention was the row planter, a game-changer that could save him money on labour and increase his farm yields by planting in precise rows.
Driven by his vision, Caesar saved diligently to buy a row planter. With the project’s help, he connected with the right people, like the Crop Doctor, to acquire the planter. Caesar’s dedication impressed the 4R team during their visit to his fields. He utilized the principles he learned from past 4R field events. He single-handedly planted a four-acre rice field and a two-acre soybean field using the row planter, showcasing a field that was not only productive but also well-organized and visually pleasing.
Despite doubts from others, especially when he attempted to use the planter for groundnut fields, Caesar persisted. Although it wasn’t effective for groundnuts due to his lack of skill in calibrating it, he successfully used it for rice and soybeans, astonishing his fellow farmers. Caesar’s excitement was glaring as he looked forward to a bountiful harvest, considering his carefully planned plant population.
Caesar’s story didn’t end here. He saw his success as a steppingstone for greater things. He planned to reach out to the company that provided the planter for more insights on how to calibrate the planter to suit other crops. He eagerly anticipated the next season, envisioning his maize and groundnut fields benefiting from the same technology.
When talking to the Community Volunteer Extension Agent, Harunah Sulemana, he expressed his enthusiasm for the growing adoption of the 4R principles in Kinklin. Harunah believed that Caesar’s accomplishments would inspire other farmers to embrace new technologies and enhance their efficiency. He even vowed to acquire one of these tools for his own farm next year.
In Kinklin, Caesar’s journey symbolized a shift from old ways to new possibilities. His story echoed through the fields, inspiring a wave of change. It was a testament to the power of determination, innovation, and the impact that even a single individual can have on a community’s future.