Bushfire is one of the major contributors of climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and affect precipitation, the Northern Regional Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Iddrisu Abu has said.
Aside it adverse effect on weather, bushfire is also responsible for high poverty among local farmers and would take a national plan to deal with the menace, he added. He said that about 150 hectares of rice farm had been completely bent last week alone leaving thousands of local farmers mostly persistence highly devastated.
The EPA Boss was speaking to this reporter after a workshop on bush fire organised by the Environmental Protection Agency and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The workshop which was aimed to help reverse desertification and drought in northern Ghana brought chiefs and community members from various part of the region together to discuss the menace.
The workshop was exclusively organised for local chiefs community leaders and to sensitize them on the need to desist from bush burning. It was under the theme: "integration of indigenous knowledge into bushfire management practices in northern ghana, the central role of tradtional authorities and their communities".
Mr. Abu said that apart from destroying soil structures and texture which leads to soil infertility, erosion and land degradation, wild fire also destroy large quantities of foodstuffs, lives and dwellings places of people and animals.
He said that indiscriminate bush burning invariably affect rainfall pattern, food production and have contribted to the drying up of water bodies forcing people particularly women and children to trek long distances in serach for water.
A communiqué signed by the chiefs who attended the workshop also identified bushfire as the “brain behind” high poverty level among farmers and called for national action to deal with bush burning. The workshop which was organized by the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) and sponsored by the Canadian international Development Agency (CIDA) was part of efforts to reverse looming desertification and drought in northern Ghana.
The workshop organized under the auspices of Ghana environmental Management Programme (GEMP), a 5-year environmental management plan being finance by CIDA and Ghana Government target the reduction of bushfire, indiscriminate tree felling. The programme rather support forestation, protection of woodlands, and enforcement of anti-bushfire law.
The communiqué indicated that 40 per cent of farm produce is lost through bushfire which often are set by rat hunters, cattle herdsmen and children. The communiqué however called for appropriate laws on bushfire to help curb the menace.
The chiefs also urged the government to empower chiefs, form fire volunteers in various communities to deal with wild fire.