African locust bean tree in Northern Ghana

The growth and development of women in the agricultural value-chain is greatly affected in the Nanton district in the northern region.

This is because the main source of income for these rural women is under threat, following the high and indiscriminate felling of African Locust Bean trees (Dawadawa trees) in one of the poverty stricken districts in the region.

The northern region is endowed with such natural resources and the livelihood of thousands of these women and their families depends on the existence of the species.

It is a major economic activity the people trade to mitigate their impoverishment and also afford the education and future of their wards. 

This development is against the global campaign to end poverty by 2030 championed by the United Nations of which Ghana is a member.

The agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goal one promotes No Poverty.

President of the Northern Rural Women Development Association (NORWDA), a farmer based organization in the Nanton district; Mr. Abubakari Issah in the wake of this worrying phenomenon has expressed their fear and frustrations.

He has called for timely interventions and urgent attention by Chiefs and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to safe the situation.

For ages, members of this group who are largely women relied on the processing and marketing of the African Locust bean known in the local market as “Dawadawa” for both economic empowerment and nutrition.

Nutritious value

The shells are removed and the seeds and pulp are placed into a wooden mortar with pestle and pounded to separate out the seeds from their covering, which is set aside, and eaten as it is or used as a flour to make porridge.

The seeds are fermented and strong aromatic cakes (Dawadawa) are produced for sale.

This is highly nutritious and often used in the preparation of most soups and stews and recommended for poor communities whose diet lacks proteins and vitamin B.

It is against this backdrop that, Mr. Abubakari Issah confirmed to THE CUSTODIAN that, the Northern Rural Women Development Association with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC Fund), the USAID and DANIDA has begun advocating for the district assembly and opinion leaders in the area to put in place Bye-laws to protect the Africa Locust Bean species in the district.

He noted that some recalcitrant individuals engage in bushfire, deforestation and the felling down of these trees for charcoal production and goes unpunished for what he said is unacceptable destruction of the natural resources.

The issue of bushfire in particular is prevalent in the northern region and farmers have cause to worry about the consequences after harvesting their farm produce.