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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Green Cohesive Agricultural Resource Management – The WEBSOC Project

Mathias Neumann Andersen1, Selorm Y. Dorvlo2, Emmanuel Amoakwah3, Joseph Osafo Eduah4, Kwadwo Kusi Amoah5, Eric Oppong Danso2, Isaac Baidoo6, Finn Plauborg1, Edward Benjamin Sabi2, Stephen Abenney-Mickson2, Ulrik Henriksen7, Jesper Ahrenfeldt7, Kwame Agyei Frimpong8, Mark Abekoe4, Henrik Breuning-Madsen9, Kingsley Joseph Taah5, Fulai Liu10, Daniel Sarpong11, Simon Bolwig12, Fauziatu Ahmed1, Emmanuel Arthur1

1Aarhus University, Dept. of Agroecology and Environment, Denmark
2University of Ghana, Dept. of Agricultural Engineering, Ghana
3The Ohio State University, United States of America
4University of Ghana, Dept. of Soil Science, Ghana
5University of Cape Coast, Crop Science, Ghana
6University of Ghana, Legon, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Ghana
7Technical University of Denmark, Dept. of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Denmark
8University of Cape Coast, Soil Science, Ghana
9University of Copenhagen, Dept. of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Denmark
10University of Copenhagen, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Denmark
11University of Ghana, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Ghana
12Technical University of Denmark, Dept. of Management Engineering, Denmark


The present growth in Ghanaian food and energy production to support an increasing population is not sustainable as it depends on deforestation with little increase in productivity per unit of land (EC, 2007). The overall objective of the WEBSOC project is to promote growth and employment through research on green, cohesive Water, Energy-from-Biomass, Soil, Organics, and Crop to devise ways to reverse this trend and enhance livelihood in rural communities by increasing agricultural productivity and employment.

The project has developed reactors for using crop residues to produce biochar and wood gas for artisanal palm oil refineries (Dorvlo, ibid.) to lessen the pressure on forests for firewood and charcoal and as an intelligent way of recycling organics and reducing CO2 emission. The application of the biochar to agricultural fields has increased soil carbon sequestration (Amoakwah, ibid.) and thereby represents a CO2-negative approach to sustainable increase soil fertility (Eduah, ibid.), crop yields (Amoah, ibid.), and carbon storage. Further intensification has been achieved by developing small-scale solar drip fertigation systems allowing one to two more growing seasons per year to produce high-value crops (Danso, ibid.). Thus the project has devised a triple-win situation where farmers get sustained higher yields (from irrigation and improved soil fertility), CC gas emissions are reduced (from increased carbon sequestration), and small scale industries and households get energy (from pyrolysis of crop residues). Finally, agricultural value chains (Baidoo, ibid.), both on the supply and processing side, are under development in cooperation between local SMEs and universities. The research into these options has been pursued within a framework designed to educate PhD students and young scientists.

Keywords: Biochar, Ghana, irrigation, small-scale farming, sustainable intensification

Contact Address: Mathias Neumann Andersen, Aarhus University, Dept. of Agroecology and Environment, Aarhus, Denmark, e-mail: MathiasN.Andersen@agrsci.dk

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