Amidst the Climate change effects on rainfall pattern, chilli pepper production is a means of livelihoods support for the people of Lakpleku. February to March are therefore months of land preparation and nursery practices in order for them to meet rainy season which is however not entirely reliable. Abibimman foundation therefore saw it as an avenue to help give back to society as good practices in farming would be the best and this is because good preparation and opportunity amounts to success. Abibimman Foundation in collaboration with the District agricultural Development Unit of the Ningo Prampram District in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana therefore organized a workshop session for chili pepper farmers in the community of Lakpleku, located in the Ningo Prampram district. Lakpleku is not too far from the Industrial city of Tema. The inhabitants of the Lakpleku community are mostly farmers.
The chili producers dominate the farming population. The theme of the programme was dubbed “Good Chili Pepper Production practices for Wealth and Health “, which saw an attendance of more than Fifty (50) Chili pepper farmers with almost a perfect gender balance as the women farmers matched their counterparts in numbers in proportion. The programme involved a facilitation and demonstrative transfer of agricultural innovation, interactions and contributions. The farmers were particularly grateful to the Foundation for organizing such an event in conjunction with the Agricultural Development Unit and wished for more of such event to be emulated over time.
The farmers however lamented about the lack of investors and government help in acquiring inputs to maximize their yield. The main challenge they faced was the activities they would have to engage in, once the rainy season was over. A farmer made a remark which was quite troubling, “I very much appreciate your technology you have brought us, yet as a peasant farmer, how would I be able to purchase some of the good inputs you have suggested to us?” This concern of the farmer came from the point of view that, they are willing to scale up but current situations are not letting them. Abibimman Foundation is therefore pleading to the general public to look at the option of investing, yet assisting in farming for equity when it comes to sustainable livelihoods.
A well invested capsicum (pepper) farm can yield up to 120% profit depending on the type of pepper and how passionate the farmer is about protecting his crops. A profit margin of such magnitude may not even be offered by some forms of investments in the banking sector.Chili pepper apart from forming part of most Ghanaian dishes and therefore both a spice and adjuvant has many uses including medicinal (A very large study conducted by the British Medical Journal found some indications that humans who consume spicy foods, especially fresh chili peppers, were less likely to die of cancer or diabetes .
Pepper is also used in diabetic neuropathy), Crop defense (deters elephants from feeding on crops in some parts of Africa and Asia) and industrial such as pepper spray because of the presence of the chemical,Capsaicin which is the primary component in the pepper spray.Red chilies contain large amounts of vitamin C, B (B6 mostly) and small amounts of carotene. Yellow and especially green chilies (which are essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. They are very high in potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Abibimman Foundation in its own way to contribute more to this society’s means of livelihood support has therefore started a two acre chili pepper farm in the same community as a model farm that would serve as a site for education, demonstration of innovation and mentorship programme for some other organizations to follow.
At the end of the workshop, the grateful farmers therefore pleaded that the media should make their needs known to public for investors, philanthropist and other stakeholders to aid in acquiring inputs like certified seeds, farm tools, regular extension services, tractor services at relatively low costs and credit facilities.
Dorgbetor Isaac Korku Dorgbetor
Projects Coordinator (Agriculture and Biodiversity)