Creating learning centres to impact agriculture: Emmanuel Derry Wanye explores farm-modeling

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When Derry noticed his favourite fufu dish was off the menu at the canteen because cassava was in short supply, he realized something needed to be done to help remedy this kind of decline. He found a perfect way to do this, through a farm-modeling project being run by Ashesi’s Design Lab.

“I’m passionate about agriculture, particularly, food security,” explained Derry. “Cassava should not be a problem for Ghanaians – it can easily be cultivated in almost any kind of soil, so when a crop as common as cassava is in short supply, there’s a problem. I want to work to ensure there is abundance of food, so when I heard about the farm-modeling project, I signed up.”

The farm-modeling project gives students the opportunity to explore best farming practices that can be implemented to enhance agricultural output and practices. “Ultimately, our goal is to come up with a suitable farm model in order to enhance outputs of the farmers in Berekuso and surrounding villages,” said Derry. “Currently, we experiment with all kinds of crops, encountering the various problem within the farming sector, and applying design thinking to find suitable solutions. In the end we have a series of solved problems for the farmers to follow.”

Started in February 2016, the farm-modeling project has grown steadily into a hub for learning and experimentation. Derry works with several students to set up technologies and solutions to farming problems. Over the summer, students tackled irrigation and waste management by designing and building a water collection roof made out of used plastic bottles. The team also explored incorporating used PVC pipes in the drip irrigation technology not only to improve farming output, but to as a way to recycle the pipes.

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“The farm has become a learning centre,” explained Derry. “Here, everyone can come on board, with their passions or hobbies. We are not afraid to fail – we just try out new things, learn from our mistakes and see how things work well.

For Derry, agriculture is pivotal in transforming the continent. By helping farmers eliminate roadblocks and adopt best farming practices they are able to work towards attaining food security.

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“Unfortunately in Ghana, we don’t learn why things do not work and we keep making the same mistakes. So we do not develop,” says Derry. “In our bid to impact the continent, we need to focus on agriculture as well. Transforming Africa is incomplete without transforming the agricultural sector.”

On August 29th, 2016, Emmanuel Derry Wanye presented a paper titled Experiential Education Platform to Study the Agricultural Value Chain at theInternational Conference on Education Development and Innovation (INCEDI) 2016 at the Tang Palace Hotel, Accra, Ghana

credit – www.ashesi.edu.gh

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