It's been a life-changing experience with SkyFox - Azumah
Anthony Azumah, a farmer in the Afram Plains of Ghana, cannot hide his feelings participating in the SkyFox Aquaculture and crop production project. “It has been a life-changing experience,” he says.
Agriculture is a vital part of the Ghanaian economy but continues to be plagued with many challenges. Chief amongst them is inadequate irrigation facilities and high cost of irrigation equipment which limits many farmers to farming once or twice per year depending on the rainfall pattern and insufficient funding support to farmers for their activities.
SkyFox Ltd. knowing the plight of smallholder farmers, has continued to innovate ensuring farmers can farm all year round with better yields to improve their socio-economic status. One of such innovations is the Integrated Aquaculture and Crop Production Project which has seen many farmers improve their harvest because they can now perform their farming activities all year round.
In the early part of 2019, Skyfox Limited was able to lead the farmers from the Afram Plains Cooperative Vegetable Farmers Society at Adawso to purchase a highly efficient irrigation equipment to improve their yield. SkyFox Limited also helped these farmers to secure funding to purchase the equipment.
One of the beneficiaries from our interventions is Anthony Azumah, a former fisherman turned farmer with twelve children. According to him, he left fishing to take up farming because it was no longer lucrative and has since been farming for 10 years.
Mr. Azumah has a total of about 19 acres of farm land which he uses to grow a variety of crops. He has an eight-acre onion farm yet to be harvested. He also has two acres of pepper, six acres of groundnut and three acres of okra farms.
Before the SkyFox intervention, Anthony depended on rainfall for farming and an inefficient irrigation facility for his activities. According to him, he was faced with many challenges including cost of fuel to power his generator to pump water onto his farms. There was an issue with acquiring and laying pipes to bring water to his farms. He mentioned that there was a challenge when he had to remunerate the numerous farmhands he employed to help lay and move the pipe on his farms.
“I always suffered when it was time to water my farm, I had to carry my pipe more than fifty times from one line to the other before the whole farm was well watered. Before I can move the pipe each time, I have to dismantle it and lay it again, from one line to the other, this means if I move the pipe 50 times, I have to spark my pump 50 times which is a waste of fuel.”
According to him, he is now able to farm all year round thanks to the innovative irrigation facility SkyFox Limited introduced to the group. Mr. Azumah testified that, the amount of money he spends on petrol has reduced drastically, the workload has reduced, especially with the number of times he had to carry and lay the pipes from one location to another to pump water to the farm. Consequently, the number of farmhands has also reduced; about 3 or 4 farmhands per ten acres as opposed to the previous two farmhands per acre.
“Thanks to SkyFox limited, I no longer spend all my money buying petrol, the new equipment I purchase covers the whole farm, I only spark the pump once and it waters the whole farm till I switch it off. I do not need a lot of farmhands as well and this has saved me some financial and physical troubles,” Mr. Azumah said.
He is now able to save more to take better care of his family. From his three-acre onion farm, he harvested 600 bags of onion. He is eagerly looking forward to this year’s onion harvest with expectation of even higher yields.
“Last year I harvested 600 bags of onions but this year I am certain I will harvest more bags than I did the previous year.”
Anthony was grateful to SkyFox Ltd. for their intervention and asks that the assistance be extended to many more farmers in the area.
By Afi Aklayikoe