Friday, October 26, 2012


THE importance of forests to human life cannot be overemphasized. According to agric scientists, forests, apart from conserving nature, are a source of life.

They purify the air that we breathe, serve as habitat for the animals that we feed on, and preserve climatic temperatures to protect our bodies. In Africa, in particular, forests are the main source of herbs and many of the food we eat.
Experts have also noted that forests play a crucial role in helping mitigate the impact of climate change on humans.
Some illegally-sawn timber that were recently seized in Saboba
According to the Director of the United Nations (UN) Forum on Forests Secretariat, Mr Pekka Patosaary, forests can act as a ‘sink’ to absorb greenhouse emissions and store large quantities of carbon for extended periods of time.
No wonder the developed world is now committing itself to invest in afforestation projects in Africa under the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative.
One is therefore at a lost why forests in the Northern Region of Ghana are being depleted at such an alarming rate, in spite of how essential they are to the livelihoods of the people in the region.
Checks at the Forestry Commission indicate that there are 24 forest reserves in the Northern Region.
The region even boasts of having the largest forest reserve in Ghana, the Yakombo Forest Reserve, near Buipe, which occupies an estimated land area of 1,160km².
Each year, more trees are planted in various parts of the region so as to create new or replenish existing woodlots and forest plantations.
Currently, the Forestry Services Department (FSD) of the Forestry Commission is establishing large acres of forest plantations in various parts of the region through the National Forest Plantation Development Programme.
During a recent visit to the Northern Region by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, the Northern Regional Forestry Manager, Mr Ebenezer Djaney Djagbletey, revealed that the region had exceeded its targets for the plantation programme.
“A total area of 3,309 hectares had been planted by the end of December, 2010, which is far higher than the 2000 hectares target that had been set,” he told the committee.
He said in Yendi alone, a total area of 1,126 hectares was planted in off-reserve areas and 200 hectares in existing forest reserves.
In Tamale, a total area of 462 hectares was planted in off-reserve areas, whiles 70 hectares of areas located within forest reserves had been planted.
In spite of all these glamorous statistics about the establishment of large acres of forest plantations, the question to ask is “how many of these trees would survive?”
How many would become prey to the painful blade of chain-saw operators and how many would crumble when the dry season fires start?
Statistics from the EPA paint a gloomy picture about the depletion of forest resources in the Northern Region.
According to the EPA, the region loses 38, 000 hectares of its tree cover every year due to activities such as indiscriminate bush burning, deforestation, use of chemicals in fishing, over grazing by livestock and illegal commercial logging.
Just recently, the FSD intercepted large quantities of illegally sawn rosewood, which had been felled from forest plantations in the Saboba district.
Due to the depletion of forests and the vegetation, some parts of the region are being reduced to desert-like conditions and this has caused a reduction in food and water resources and also increased the intensity and duration of droughts and disasters in the north.
It is sad to note that many community folk do not seem to know about the harm they cause to the environment and future generations when they run down forest resources.
The extent to which they cut down trees for firewood and to make space for farming and settlements exposes the region to desertification.
Unfortunately, forest conservation issues do not receive adequate attention from local government authorities and politicians in the region.
Under the noses of District Chief Executives, Members of Parliament, Co-ordinating Directors and traditional rulers, forests are destroyed and no one seems to border.
It is high time that the nation’s leaders and the entire populace were reoriented on the importance of forests and the need to conserve them.
Politicians, chiefs and opinion leaders in the region must stand up now to protect the region’s forests and not wait for calamity to befall us.

Ghanaian Crop Scientists Divided Over GMOs

2 Votes

Dr. Abdulai Lansah, CSIR
Crop Researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute, Ghana (CSIR) are extensively divided over the introduction of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops into a Ghanaian agricultural sector.
While some scientists brushing aside the adoption of GMO crops for the bases of uncertainty health risks, others are of the view that, conventional crop breeding has not withstood the test of time hence the need for all new methods to improve food production.
A Crop Researcher from CSIR Dr. Abdulai Lansah in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer in Bolgatanga, Upper East region, said “Even scientists at CSIR are divided over GMO introduction with the basis of uncertainty health risks”.
There had not been any laboratory analyses that pointed to the fact that, the consumption of GMOs are dangerous to human health according to scientists. However, the introduction of GMOs has sparked various protests from religious, political to traditional raising fears about the introduction ofGMO products.
Dr. Lansah explained that, unlike the conventional crop breeding system that allows natural modification, genetically modified crop procedures use laboratory techniques to change the genes or characteristics of crops. “The genes or traits maybe from animals to crops, from one different plant to another and even from human beings to crops depending on the desired traits”, he disclosed.
He said this methods are raising a lot of questions and created a controversy over the GMOs products the world over. In US, UK and other developed countries, people some cases governments outlawed the importation of GMO products because of alleged health dangers associated to it.
Dr. Lansah explained that questions raised against the consumption of GMO products are most related to beliefs and alleged uncertainty health risks associated with such crops modification processes. However, he said scientists are still researching details about GMO products and until that “we can not confirm or deny questions raised against the consumption of GMOs”.
“For now, Ghana has officially adopted GMO cotton but scientists at CSIR are still testing genetically modified crops which are strictly confined” the crop researcher told this reporter when asked whether or not there are GMOs in Ghana.
Dr. Lansah said, though there is/are no known GMO crops Ghana except Bt. Cotton, people are however, suspecting some brand of soy beans in Ghana to be that of genetically modified. “Some of the seeds come into the market with no labels so it is difficult to differentiate between genetically modified and non genetically modified”, he said.
On food security, he said industrialize agriculture was the sure way out for Ghana. The industrialization he explained would resolved post harvest loses in agriculture sector in Ghana. He disclosed that not less than 40% of total food produce in country is lost in transit because of unavailability of preservation and storage facilities, and good infrastructure such as roads.

Eight Deprived Communities in Ghana Take Destiny to Own Hands

A decision making for climate resilient livelihoods and risk reduction training workshop aimed to build capacity of vulnerable communities in the northern and Upper East region has ended in Bolgatanga with a called on the stakeholders in development to as a matter of urgency integrate climate change into community development projects.
The training workshop organised by CARE International under the auspices of Adaptation Learning Programme in Africa (ALP) used participatory Scenario Planning approach to support eight participating vulnerable communities including Garu, Farfar, Tariganga, Akara Kugri in the Upper East region and Zambulugu, Jawani,  Demia and Saamini in the northern region to develop climate response livelihood strategies.
This is not only to prepare these poor communities to adapt to climate variabilities and climate change but also to build their capacities to be able to recognise the underlying causes of their vulnerabilities to help them design coping strategies to effectively adapt to climate change and climate variability.
Addressing the participants, the Manager of ALP, Mr. Romanus Gyan said that, the weather pattern has become erractic and climate systems now unpredictable. This, he said makes communities whose livelihoods largely depended on weather more vulnerable.
Community Strategy mapping, Picture: Npong Francis
He said, it is against this background that CARE International Adaptation Learning Programme in Africa (ALP) was developed to support poor and vulnerable communities in Africa to effectively adapt to climate change and climate variability.
Working in partnership with local civil society and public institutions, the Adaptation Learning programme is being implemented in 40 communities across some selected African countries including Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, and Niger.
The training workshop assisted the participating communities to develop the most important climate change adaptation strategies after identifying the underlying causes of their vulnerabilities. The strategies proposed to be implemented by these communities to help them cope with the changing climatic events include tree planting, dry season gardening, livestock rearing, use of organic manure and engage income generating activities.
Other strategies these communities proposed to adapt were; drought and disease resistant crops, early maturing crops, formation of community savings and loan schemes, encourage the youth in vocational skills projects, advocate for good road network to connect them to markets centers  and construction of strong foundation for their houses to withstand floods and rainstorms.
These proposed strategies they said would not help to supplement their income but also improve the soil fertility and protect the environment. Speaking to the Enquirer after the training workshop, the National Advocacy Manager for Care International Ghana, Mr. Baba Tuahiru said diversification of livelihoods activities was the sure way that can reposition the poor communities to be able to cope with the effects of climate change and climate variability.
According to him, ALP is currently being piloted in some communities in the northern and Upper East region of Ghana considered to be vulnerable and that the programme is empowering the people to not only diversify, design coping strategies but also demand for accountable from duty bearers.
The Monitory and Evaluation officer for Care International Ghana, Mr. Thomas Ayamga who took the participating communities through the processes of Community Adaptation Planning (CAAP) helping communities to design their strategic plans would help them redirect their attention to the most important and pressing development projects that can help improve their living conditions.
section of participants at the training workshop. Picture Npong Francis
The governance officer for Care International Ghana Mr. Avura Francis urged the government institutions to always consult communities when they intend to undertake development projects in communities. He said this help them to design such projects to feed into the community development plan else the projects might impact positively on the livelihoods of the people.

My life depends on good harvest - groundnut farmer

Afa Alhassan being assisted by mom and auntie to dry his nuts

EACH year between August and October, one can see chains of women carrying sacks and pans filled with freshly harvested groundnuts and walking along dusty or muddy paths in villages in Northern Ghana.
It is that period of the year when groundnut farmers harvest their groundnuts, which were planted earlier in the year.
Groundnut or peanut happens to be one of the most farmed food crops in Northern Ghana due to its health, culinary and economic values.
In 2011, the Ministry of Food Agriculture (MoFA) indicated that the total output of groundnut produced in the three regions of the north accounted for about 80 percent of the nation’s total groundnut production.
In a recent trip to Zokuga, a farming community in the Savelugu/Nanton district of the Northern Region, I met with a 44-year old farmer who has been cultivating groundnut since childhood.

It was midday and Afa Mohammed Alhassan as he is called was busily drying groundnut he had harvested from his 10-acre farm. He was being supported by his mother, Mma Salamatu and auntie, Mma Maata.
In the interaction that followed, he mentioned that although he farms both maize and groundnut, it was the latter that was so dear to his heart.
Afa Alhassan speaking to me
“I focus much of my attention on farming groundnut because it is through this that I get enough income to take care of my family,” he said, adding that his favourite variety is ‘abaen’.
Afa Alhassan was unequivocal in stating that his life as a groundnut farmer depended on good harvest.
“When harvest is good, I can get about seven bags of groundnuts from an acre and this happens only once a while,” he stated.
At the time, a bag of groundnut was selling between GH¢50 to GH¢70 and this in an incentive to Afa Alhassan.
“When prices are good, it helps us farmers to reap what we have sown,” he said with a smile.
I asked him what were the factors that can account for a good harvest and he mentioned good rains as paramount.
He noted that having a good harvest depended also on planting at the right time, adding that to plant one needs to mobilise the seeds and get the land prepared.
Unlike maize and other crops, groundnut does not depend heavily on fertilizer and this, in the estimation of Afa Alhassan, is one thing that makes farming groundnut conducive for the rural poor.
In spite of this, he thinks that groundnut farmers, like other farmers, need some support from government and other organisations.
“When the season arrives and there are no tractors to prepare the land, then it could affect planting,” he said.
Afa Alhassan said the lack of equipment for harvesting and shelling groundnuts makes the work of harvesting groundnut a bit laborious.
During harvest, he and other farmers use either their hands or hoes to uproot the vines from the ground, depending on the texture of the soil.
“When the ground is still wet, we can use our hands, but if it is dry, we have to use hoes,” he said.
He said after the vines are uprooted, he employs the services of some women to separate the nuts from the vines, assemble them in heaps and transport them in pans and in sacks to his house.
It is then that another process begins as the nuts have to be dried for a period of time, before being shelled, separated from the kennels and packed into sacks.
“It is a painstaking process,” he said.
Of course, Afa Alhassan is also concerned about getting the needed technologies to increase yield.
“If we can get help to enable us get better yields, it would help us a lot because our lives depend on it,” he noted.
Like many other rural men, Afa Alhassan has two wives and four children, but is not satisfied.
“I want to have more children,” he intimated, adding that “Three of the children are for my first wife and so my second wife would also be delivering two more.”
He admitted that taking care of his four children, together with his mother and other extended family, is quite a challenge, especially in keeping his children in school.
Three of them, Zakaria, Alhassan and Memunatu attend the Zokuga nursery and primary school.
“Sometimes, the teachers ask us to pay some dues and buy some items for the children and I try to get it for them,” he said.
Afa Alhassan's children are in school
“They tell us that education is good, but I am yet to feel it because none of my children has gone far with their education,” Afa Alhassan said, with a sense of uncertainty.
“Have you not heard of family planning,” I asked him and his response was expected: “I have heard of it, but I want to have more children because I do not know which one of them would prosper in future.”
Efforts to explain that family planning is about planning child birth would however not sink.
Well, it appears that Afa Alhassan’s 44-years of farming has shaped his idea of life and what he considers the most important is how to get a good harvest each farming season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Wife Detests GMOs But She's A Great Patronist

Npong shopping vegetables inside Tamale Central Market. Display are GMO tomatoes, pepper. 
Here i am in a crowded market. It’s just stopped raining and business as usual has resummed with people pushing pass each other, stopping by vendors of assorted items a market can offer. There are no rules of engagement here. The best shopper here is one with bargaining power, and that depicts a rare african market, a case in Tamale central market.

The market looked dangerously constructed, the walking lanes are narrow. Trucker pushers and owners worsened the situatuion as they force their ways through these narrow lanes, carelessly pushing shoppers side by side and some instances block the lane to offload their carriage.

I was not sure of what my wife meant when she stressed “buy fresh and good looking peper, tomatoes, okra, and salt? Do we have fresh and good looking salt too? I asked.

“Be sure not to also buy chemically induced vegetables for me, you know i am careful of my family’s health”, she commanded.

My wife is among millions of people in the world who habor bad feelings about genetically modified foods (GMOs). But she would not object to cakes, cholates made from genetically modified wheat as gift, fresh and good looking vegetables who genes have been modified to improve their desired traits such as good looking, nutritional content, it’s durabitity among other things.

Scientists are currently battling to correct the notion that GMOs are dangerous to health. According to Professor Wayne Powell from the university of Aberystwyth, the modification of plants in the laboratory is to enhance their desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, pesticides, drought or improved their nutritional content and that nothing dangerous about the use of GMOs has been scientifically established. Prof. Powell was addressing seasoned journalists in Ghana who took part in in workshop on initiating dialogue on plants breeding, genetics and bioscience for farming organised by Bioscience for Farming in Africa (B4FA) for some selected sceince reporters held in Accra.
Npong and friend Mohammed Nurudeen doing some veg buying

He explained that, GM technology was developed after the second war II to help boost agriculture to meet global food supply. GM process involves the transfer of genes responsible for desired traits of plants such as drought and insects tolerance, or high nutritional content into a different plant. 

The best known example of this is the use of Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t. genes) used in corn and other crops.
He also disapproved negative comments associated to GM products and that GMOs are to ensure regular food supply to the increasing population by controlling pests, crops diseases and improving their nutritional content for the wellbeing of both humans and animals.

My wife has been a great patronist of GMO products at the sametime she detests it. She would not reject genetically modified wheat cholate, biscuit, neither would she buy bad looking vegetable from the market. Her attitude towards GMO s stem from protests and rumours making round alleging the dangers associated to GMOs. Ironically, my wife would also not go anywhere without her GSM cell phone which scienctists say are dangerous than the consumption of GMOs.   

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ghana Kick-starts Validation of Climate Change Policy Framework

The government of Ghana has started a nationwide validation of a draft climate change policy document to support the formulation of climate resilient policies and programmes to enable the state to adjust to cope with the challenges and impacts of climate change and global warming on development.
The National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) is to provide strategic direction and co-ordinate issues of climate change in Ghana. The NCCP surpasses ‘traditional’ climate change policy areas of adaptation and mitigation. It emphasises that social development is vital for, and cuts across, both of these areas.
The Director of the Ministry of Environement, Science, and Technology Mr. Fredua Agyeman said that the document after the validation would be laid before parliament for approval and adoption to become a national working document.
At a validation workshop organised for civil society organisations in Accra, the Director of MEST said that, the validation would ensure that the document was widely accepted by Ghanaians.
The Director who was addressing civil socieity organisation on behalf of the sector Minister Madam Sherry Ayittey pointed out that climate change which is a threat to livelihood affects Ghana’s economic performance and development prospects.
“Ghana’s climate is changing as a result of increased global emissions of greenhouse gases, with rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, floods and more weather extremes”, he said.
Africa the minister said is currently, faced with challenges of floods, and droughts that have affected thousands of peole socially, economically and development.
Climate change the minister said is now everybody’s business, and stakeholders need to be part in developing a National Climate Change Policy Framework (NCCPF) to ensure a climate resilient and climate compatible economy while achieving sustainable development and equitable low carbon economic growth for Ghana.
“The impact of climate change spans so many sectors, from agriculture to forests, and from health to social protection. Its impact on any or all of these poses a serious threat to our progress on the Millennium Development Goals and to our plans to become a middle income country. That is why we need a harmonised and coordinated climate change response”.
Mr. Agyeman explained that MEST exists to establish a strong national scientific and technological base for accelerated sustainable development of the country to enhance the quality of life for all and that the overall objective of MEST is to ensure accelerated socio-economic development of the nation through the formulation of sound policies and a regulatory frame work to promote the use of appropriate environmentally friendly, scientific and technological practices and techniques hence the climate change policy framework to help Ghana cope with the effects of climate change and its emerging issues.
The Director who acknowledged the complexity of climate change urged the campaigners to break down terminologies involved to the understanding of ordinary person whose life is most affected by the changes for adaptation process.
The He observed that, the recurring floods in parts of the country had cost the country millions of cedis in reconstruction, repairs and relief items. The floods which she blamed on the indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste that choked the major water run-ways also cost Ghana millions of cedis to resettle flood displaced people in Accra.
The government of Ghana spent closed to 62 billion old Ghana cedis on floods relief victims in the northern sector, central and western regions for the past three years. Ghana has had her fair share of the harsh climate effects and could not wait to manage disasters anymore but takes proactive measurse to avoid them hence the national climate change policy framework.
The Director thanked Care international for supporting the country to draft a climate change policy document saying “climate change is a development issues and should be tackled devoid of politization” to help the country cope with natural and man-made disasters.
Professor, Chris Gordon, Dr. Adelina Mensah and Dr. Elaine T. Mensah from the university of Ghana, Legon are leading the validation process.
Some of the participants in an interview after the programme indicated that the effects of climate change on national economy too devastating to wait. They commended the government for taken steps to have a national climate change policy.
Therefore however urged the government to involve civil society organisations in the implementation of the policy framework for effective result. Over fifty civil society organisations across the country participated in the validation process. The government would also be meeting with chiefs, women’s and youth groups, and other stakeholders before the document is placed before parliament.

Friday, August 3, 2012

High Level Interaction on Climate Change and Plastic Waste Ends in Ghana

Minister Sherry Ayittey Addressing MMDCEs during the training workshop in Kumasi
The Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Ms. Sherry Ayittey has urged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to make climate change resilient policy and sanitation cleanness the topmost priority in their development plans or programmes to spare the country from both natural and man-made disasters.
She observed that, the recurring floods in parts of the country had cost the country millions of cedis in reconstruction, repairs and relief items. The floods which she blamed on the indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste that choked the major water run-ways also cost Ghana millions of cedis to resettle flood displaced people in Accra and Northern Ghana.

“We need to go green to reduce the impact of climate change not only on livelihoods but on the national economy. We can not go forward if we continue to dispose plastic waste indiscriminately in the country”, she said.  The Minister said the only way to deal with plastic waste in the country was for people to  change their attitude to disposal of used plastics.

The minister said this when she addressed the District Chief Executives (DCEs), District Coordinating Directors (DCDs) and Planners during one of the series of a nationwide high level interaction on climate change and plastic waste in Ghana held in Kumasi.

The programme which sought to encourage the mainstream of climate change into development planning in Ghana was organised by two international organisation includes, Care International Ghana under the auspices of Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment Science and Teachnology (MEST), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Japan International Development Agency (JICA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The training programme was aimed to educate the government and public office holders on the need to mainstream climate resilient and sanitation cleanness into their development programmes at various levels. It was also to encourage physical and economic planning in the country that takes climate change and environmental and anitation cleanness into consideration.

The minister indicated the government of Ghana spent closed to amount of 62 billion old Ghana cedis on floods relief victims in the northern sector, central and western regions. This amount was said to be exclusive of various contributions made by the development partners and that Ghana has had her fair share of the harsh climate effects and could not wait to manage disasters anymore but takes proactive measurse to avoid them.

Ms. Ayittey commended Care International Ghana’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) for making impacts on the lives of rural dwellers in parts of northern and Upper East region.  ALP is implementating community based adaptation that includes education on climate variability and linking communities to agencies such as Ghana Meteorological Department (GMD), Ministry of Food and Agriculutre (MOFA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI).
These agencies provide necesary information to farmers to plan their crop production. The minister urged the MMDCEs to urged to put in place environmental sound policy to deal with plastic waste to ensure environmental sustainability.
Manager of ALP, Mr. Romanus Gyang
The Manger for Care International Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) Mr. Romanus Gyang explained that the effects of climate change on livelihoods were too devastating to leave it for the governments alone to deal with. He said that while CARE International was collaborating with the government through the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) it was also implementing communities based adaptation at various communities and supporting them to diversify their livelihoods in relation to climate change and their vulnerability. Explaining the effects of climate on national economy, Mr. Gyang stated that if nothing is done immediately the devastating effects of climate change and climate variability on the national economy in the near future would be great to bear.
The Ashanti Regional Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah said that climate change represents a key challenge to the development of the country. He said the effects of climate change will increase the financial burdens of governments and limit their ability to provide infrastructure. He said agriculture sector has already been affected by the effects of climate change and called for action to reduce its effects on the people. This was contained a speech read on his behalf during the training workshop on climate change in Kumasi.

The president of the National Association of Local Government Authority (NALAC) Mr. Ebenezer Akuoko Frimpong pledged on behalf of the MMDCEs in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo region to mainstream climate change into local development programme. He observed that extreme climate variability in Ghana may grind development into a halt if nothing is done about it.

He cited rises in temperatures, low crop yield, flood and erractic rains and long droughts as some of the frightening signs of effects of climate change in Ghana.  He appealed to his colleague leaders of Local government authority to take climate change issues very serious to reduce its negative impact on livelihoods and development.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Climate Change: Failed Crops put Fears in Farmers

Picture: Millet farm performing poorly at Farfar                                                              Credit: Npong Francis

Farmers in Fafar, a farming community in the Garu-Tampane District of the Upper East Region have predicted food shortages, severe hunger and starvation in the near future if nothing is done to improve on the current traditional farming and cropping system.

According to the farmers, the traditional crops are failing them because of inconsistent rainfall and high temperatures and that something urgent ought to be done about crop failures to protect the livelihoods of the farmers to cope with the forseeable severity of the food situation. 

They however, called on the ministry for Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to support farmers with short duration or maturing, drought and heat tolerant crops and new technologies particularly irrigation system to support food production.

The farmers including women also complained about the none availability of farm inputs and that alternative fertilizer should be developed because chemical fertilizer which cost has made them more dependable instead of self suffcient should be replaced with cheap and effective ferlizer. The women in particularly indicated that the cost of the quantity of fertilizer they needed to produce an acre of maize today is more than what they were applying previous on the same piece of farmland and that ought to be looked by the goverment.    

They intimated that failure by the government to do something quick such as introducing drought tolerant variaty crops and short duratioon maturing crops would plounge the nation under food insufficient.

These farmers were contributing to discussions on food security, livelihoods development, agriculture and climate change adaptation at a community engagement meeting held at Farfar Community in the Garu Tempane District of the UER.
The programme which was organised by the Presbyterian Agriculture Station Garu (PAS-G) under the Care International Ghana’s Adaptation Learning Programme was to solicit information from the community on their livelihoods activities.

The assembly member for Farfar Electoral Area, Mr. Joseph Duut Yennukua thanked Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) and Presbytarian Agricultural Station in Garu for bringing officers from various decentralized government agencies into the community. He pointed out that whose farming and livelihoods situations were deteriorating need urgent attention and support but it was difficult for them to acces such supports to improve on their lots.

He also called the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Kwesi Ahwoi to as a matter of urgency supply them with short duration improved crop variaties and extension officers to support their farming activities. The Upper East Regional Director of the Savanna Agriculture Research Station (SARI), Dr. Roger Kanton promised to supply the community with short duration (Abontem) and high quality protein maize variaties to improve on the crop production.

The Monitoring and Evaluation officer of CARE International Ghana, Mr. Thomas Ayamga explained that, the community engagement fora are initiatives by Adaptation Learning Programme to make social services available to community members to improve not only on livelihoods, but also help deepen governance, promote participatory democracy, bridge the relationship gap between the comunities and duty bearers and bring governance to the doorsteps of the communities.

He stated that, the fora were to support community to identify gaps and design their development action plans and strategies to enable benefit from currently ongoing programmes being implemented by the government and non government agencies.
Picture: farmer lamenting failure of crops during a community engagement forum at Farfar, Garu-Tampane District, Ghana.
The fora, which were held in eight communities including Zambulugu, Jawani, Demia &Saamini, Tariganga, Akara, Farfar and Kugri in the Northern and Upper East regions respectively also  sought to educate farmers on adaptation and mitigation measures against the effects of climate change and climate variabilities.

It engaged decentralized departments such as the district assemblies (DAs), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and National Disaster Management Organisations (NADMO) and Meteological Agency (GMA) were to enable them respond to the communties felt needs such as the basic infrastructure including roads, water, health posts, schools and agricultural extention services among other public services to support the people prepare adequately for climate change adaptation, explained the Local Governance and Advocacy officer for Care International Ghana, Francis Babongte Avura.

Mr. Avura stated that, the process was not only to deepen participatory democracy and bridge the relationship gap between the decentralized offices and educate the communities on the available opportunities to be sourced to improve on their lots but was also to gather testimonies from communities the changes that took place and impacted negatively on their economic and social lives.

The programme Manager for Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), Mr Romanus Gyang who also participated keenly in the processes told the Enquirer in an interview that ALP was a community driven and life changing programme and that the programme was supporting vulnerable communities to adapt to the effects of climate change and climate variabilities for sustainable livelihoods.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Section of CSOs member reviewing ALP
The Civil Sociaety Organisations (CSOs) have commended the government for constituting climate change department within the ministry of Environment, Science and Technology to handle climate change related isssues and prompting the parliament to constitute parliamentary select committee on climate change to be responsible for reviewing, recommending and initiating climate change resilient policies and programmes.
They also commended Care International for taken lead role in championing climate change issues in Africa.
The constitution of a parliamentraty select committee and special department on climate change would further the ducation and formulation of climate change resilient policies and programmes to help the poor and vulnerable communities adapt to theeffects of climate change and climate variabilities.
The civil society organisations commended the government during a two-day climate change adaptation learning programme (ALP) review meeting organised by Care International Ghana held in Tamale.
The meeting which brought togather civil sociatyorganisations working in environment, food security, water and sanitaion, community development and capacity building organisations across the country reviewed climate change adaptation learning programme being implemented by Care International Ghana through partner organisations, assessed climate change situation and it impacts on livelihoods.
They also reviewed and evaluated food and water situation, and how far agriculture sector fared for the past five years and climate change variabilities impact on livelihoods on the poor.
Members of the CSOs point out that a step by the government to constitute parliamentary select committee to champion climate change issues in Ghana was an indication that the nation’s leadership had recognized the need for comprehensive policy and programme on climate change to reduce impacts on livelihoods.
The coordinator for Youth Volunteers for the Environment (YVE), Mr. Lovans Owusu-Takyi who also commended the government for the move said the climate change was a threat to sustainable livelihood and development and needed attention.
He said that the effects of climate change were greater and disasterous and that any action by the government to deal with the issue should not be politicise.
Addressing participants, the manager of Care Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa, (ALP), Mr. Romanus Gyan explained that ALP is a life changing programme that seeks to build the capacities of vulnerable communities and households to adapt to the effects of climate change and climate variability.
He said that the programme was using what he called “community based adaptation approaches” which centered on four key elements including promoting climat resilient livelihoods strategies, building capacities of local NGOs and local public institutions, disaster risk reduction strategies and addressing underlying causes of vulnerability through social mobilization for empowerment and advocacy to influence quick policies implementations and intervetions. The Manger told the Enquirer in an interveiw that climate change does not only needs cash but governmental and individual and corporate institutional actions. He said “Coping with effects of climat change will demand support and willingness and result oriented adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce the impact of climate chnage on people’s livelihoods”.
He said that, it is against this background that, CARE International Ghana has introduced the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) in northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana to support rural but poor and vulnerable women to cope with the effects of climate change and climate variability.
The Adaptation Learning programme, which is currently running in five communities in these regions, also seeks to empower women in micro financing activities to reduce their vulnerabilities and expand economic viable ventures within these areas to support people’s livelihoods improvement.
The programme manager said that, ALP is expected to cover about ninety rural communities in the two regions of Ghana targeting about 5,400 poor rural women to help transformed rural economies to better the livelihoods of rural dwellers and at the same time cushion them against the effects of global warming.