Frustrated members of Organic Mango Out-growers Association (OMOA) are agitating for the upright enforcement of anti-bushfire laws in northern region after its members have lost about 3,500 acres of mango plantation valued at 1,560,000Ghana cedis to bushfire.
According to the Coordinator of OMOA, Mr. Isahaku Idrissu, its members were frustrated by the consistent and indiscriminate bush burning that was wrecking havoc to farm plantations increasing poverty levels among them.
The Association was formed by Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC), a fruit processing and exporting company based in the region after its recruited 1,375 farmers to plant about 130,000 organic mango trees between 2001 and 2002 respectively.
These farmers however lost 3,500 acres of mango plantation approximately about 30,000 trees from 2008 to 2012 to bushfire. This rendered their five years of hard labour in vain increasing poverty level among them. “They are frustrated by the advent effects of bushfire and were ready to volunteer to enforce the bye-law, that’s why we are engaging necessary government agencies such as agric, forestry, EPA, and fire service and district assemblies to reintroduce anti-bushfire bye laws in the region”, the Coordinator told the Enquirer after he had addressed participants during anti-bushfire workshop in Savelugu.
The workshop that brought chiefs and youth leaders from Savelugu/Nanton, Karaga, and Tolon/Kunbumgu districts was parts of efforts to get assemblies to re-introduce anti-bushfire bye laws in the country.
The workshop was also used to educate chiefs on the devastating effects of bushfire, bush management and prevention techniques.
“We are currently out of one district because the one hundred acres of mango plantation there got burnt totally this year”, the coordinator said.
Mr. Iddrissu said that, the association was now approaching chiefs, District Assemblies, EPA and Agric and Forestry departments to enforce anti-bushfire law in the region.
Though, there was anti-bush burning law in the country that prohibits bush burning in northern region it was not being enforced to protect the vegetation as it was intended to.
“We want that law to be enforced now through chiefs who themselves are farmers and victims of the bushfire”, Mr, Iddrissu demanded.
He said that to reintroducing the bye laws by the assemblies would the prevent this unfortunate situation their members go through each year saying the devastating effects of bush buring were too much to cope with.
He hinted that about 450 local rice, maize, soy beans farmers lost their farm produce to bushfire this year alone and that until somebody supported them, their livelihoods would be hard to sustain throughout the year.
The District Chief Executive for Savelugu/Nanton, Alhaji Prince Askia Mohammed in an interview disclosed that the assembly could not enforce anti-bushfire law because of interferences from chiefs, community leaders and even politicians. Pointing out the negative effects of wildfires, he said the assembly was mobilizing food and other relief items for about 450 farmers who lost their farm produces to bushfires this year alone. He said the financial burden on the assembly relating bushfire was too great to bear considering other important pressing needs of the assembly.
He however appealed for collaboration from chiefs, youth leaders and other stakeholders for effective implementation of anti-bushfire laws.