Photos and Description By Tiffany Thompson
As I sit on the front porch of my new home, I see green trees stretching out in every direction, countless taxis honking as they drive by and people walking down the road on their way to work. Though it’s sunny right now, the grey clouds rolling in tell that rain is on its way. Being up in the mountains, the humidity isn’t as intense as it is throughout the rest of the region, but I can still tell it will be a warm day.
My name is Tiffany Thompson, and I am living in Mampong, a town with a population of 7,000 in the eastern region of Ghana. I arrived in Ghana two weeks ago, and will be here till the middle of December working as a Fellow for AgriCorps. AgriCorps is a nonprofit whose mission is to connect American agriculture professionals to the demand for experiential, school-based agricultural education in developing countries.
In my role as a Fellow, I will be working as an agriculture instructor at a junior high school, advising a 4-H club, and working with local farmers as an extension agent. I am one of nine Fellows currently in Ghana. We are all placed at different schools throughout the central and eastern regions of the country.
In Ghana, agriculture is not typically seen as a desirable career. Many teachers use weeding and working in the school garden as punishment, and it is assumed that people only farm because they have no other option for income. For this reason, a major component of our job here is to educate youth, the early adopters of new technologies and methodologies, about how agriculture can be a profitable business opportunity. If we can help change the perception of farming and get students interested in pursuing agriculture as a career, we hope to see improved food security in the future.
In the two weeks that I have been in Ghana, I have seen several farms growing a variety of crops and livestock including maize, peppers, cocoa, papaya, okra, cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, plantains, snails, hogs, dairy cattle, and poultry.