Goats are more common than dogs on the streets of Accra. I kept seeing small herds of them browsing on the edges of the streets or in vacant lots. One day I followed a herd until it went home and met Desmond, Joseph and their family. They keep about twenty goats. Around Christmas and for other special occasions they both sell them to other people for food and eat some themselves. Desmond is fourteen and this is the first year that he slaughtered and butchered a goat, though he says that he prefers to play with them.
Bakari Fuseini has been farming in a plot of land in the Dzorwulu district of Accra since the 1980s. He was the first secretary of the local farmer’s association, and is now both a landholder and a mentor to a new generation of farmers. Each farmer has a farm hand, and these young men will eventually inherit plots of their own. Every one that I spoke to had come from the rural north of Ghana and was intending to make farming his permanent career. As Bakari said, it’s a great option in the high-unemployment countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Of course there is also high unemployment these days in the cities in Europe and North America. Why shouldn’t the young men there also making their livings from urban farming? With the price of organic vegetables going through the roof at your local Whole Foods, it’s clear that it’s economically viable. All we need is the political will to put systems like the one in Accra into practice in more of the world.
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