Thursday, December 8, 2011

CARE Ghana schools MPs on Climate Change

EPA Director, explaining a point to some members of parliament during the worshop on climate change
From: Francis Npong, Accra, The Members of the Ghana’s Parliamentary (MPs) Select Committee on Environment have been urged to discuss dispassionately the policies and programmes on climate change resilience to help Ghana to cope with the effects of climate change.
The Country Director of CARE Ghana, Mr. Phil Christensen who urged the MPs when he addressed them during a capacity building workshop organized by CARE Ghana in Accra, however expressed worry over the feet dragging by developed nations to act on the Kyoto Protocolto drastically reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The workshop was aimed among other things to educate Members of Parliament (MPs) on climate change, environmental issues, empower them to make strong cases for climate change resilience policies and programmes in Ghana. It was also aimed at getting the MPs interested in climate change and environmental issues, the need to have climate change integrated into the national development planning.
According to Mr. Christensen, the failure of the developed nations to lead ways to emission reduction poses potential severity of future impacts of climate change not only on the developing nations but also developed nations at large.
“The responsibility to resolve the climate change crisis lies on the doorsteps of the developed countries since they are the historical source of emission of greenhouse gases and enjoined by the UN Convention on Climate Change to support developing countries to adapt to the effects”, he stated.
These gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), Methene (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O) produced as a result of human activities have the ability to trap infrared radiation (sun’s energy) which reflects in the form of temperature. The addition of these gases however increases the earth’s surface temperature, sea level water, precipitation, drought and floods among other things according to scientists hence climate change.
The Director of CARE Ghana stressed that Africa, which was already saddled with development challenges would be over stretched by the additional burdens of climate change which signs are clearly showing on the continent in trying to cope with its effects.
He warned that failure by the developing countries to take what he termed “community based adaptation initiative” that seeks to develop and strengthen the capacity of the people, empower them to analyze and manage climate risk would plunge the continent into serious difficulties.
The Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment led by Honourable Raymond Tawiah, MP for Yelo-Krobo Constituency expressed worry over what they described as strict conditions or terms often attached to donor funds to developing countries.

Country Director, CARE Ghana Mr Phil Christensen delivery speech to MPs, during climate change workshop
According to the MPs, this dictates do not allowed the beneficiary nations to invest in their priority development areas of interest. “This is keeping us where we are today in terms of development”, they said. The MPs also expressed fears that the climate change financing would also not help achieve it intended purpose if strict conditions are placed on the use of such funds by developing nations.
They promised to support climate change activities after realizing the devastating effects of climate change of livelihoods. They also promised to lead advocacy for climate change resilience policies to help Ghana cope with the effects of climate change.
Energy and Climate Change Expert form the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) Mr. Tutu Benefoh who facilitated the workshop said that evidence abounds in Ghana that temperatures in all ecological zones were raising, whereas the rainfall patterns have become erratic. The country over the years he said have been witnessing long drought, thunderstorm, and flooding, food insecurity because the agriculture sector had been hard hit by climate change.
Agriculture, Mr. Benefoh said which is the mainstay of the people has declined from 51% to 36% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sea levels rise of 2.1 mm per year over the last 30 year currently causes erosion up to 3 meters every year He therefore appealed to the governments, NGOs and international bodies to work together reduce the climate change impact on the poor and vulnerable in society through climate change resilience policies, and infrastructure.

Wasted Efforts: Yams glut in Farms

people picking pieces of broken Yams after accident
The communities along the infamous Eastern Corridor road are planning series of demonstrationsagainst the government of the RulingNational Democratic Congress (NDC) over her inability to expedite action on the construction of that road to ease the transportation difficulties the people go through during raining seasons.
According to members of these communities, their livelihoods were deteriorating steadily each day because they could not access market centers for their farm produces which is their mainstay for lack of access road. They said that their farm produces including were glutting in their farms because of the lack of access roads. This, they said is a wasted efforts by the youth whose hard labour could help improve their livelihoods because of impediments in relations to transportation and access roads.
“We lose our people to accidents, pregnant women and infant death is on the increase and we pay exorbitant lorry fares to car owners who exploit the bad state of the road to rob us our hard earned money”, they stressed.
The communities which include Makayili, Bakpaba, Lepusi, Bimbila, and Nakpaa among other communities hit the streets to protest what they termed “unfair treatment meted out to them by the governments over the construction of the road” accused politicians for toying with their livelihoods and deceit.
In a petition addressed to the president of the Republic of Ghana Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and signed by the chairman of the Nanumba North District Federation of the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) Mr. Yakubu Robert, the Secretary, Mr. Adam Ibn Majue and copied to the Northern Regional Minister and Nanumba North District Chief Executive (DCE) warned that they would not participate in any political activities unless the government fulfill her promise to work on that trench of road to solve their transportation difficulties they go through before they could access health posts and market centers for their livelihoods needs.
The demonstration which saw pupils from various primaries and Junior High schools and opinion leaders, market women and farmers participating was second in series of planned demonstrations over the construction of Eastern corridor road.
The communities stated in their petition that they have been disillusioned by the failure of the government since 2000 to fulfill their campaign promises of construction the road.
They however appealed to the president of the Republic of Ghana to ensure that the road was given a facelift to relieve them of the transportation difficulties.
community members including pupils demonstrate against government
The petitioners also pointed out that they have not seen the seriousness the government is attaching to the construction of the project and would like to see action rather than plain words of promises.
The community members also blamed their underdevelopment problem on the lack of commitment and political will from the politicians hail from the region and urged northern parliamentarians to sit up and influence development in the area to better lives.
The petitioned which was presented to the assembly Member for Lang-ja Mr. Kpadan Solomon to be forwarded to the DCE appealed to the president to ensure the construction of the road to reduce the number of children, maternal deaths, and deaths resulting from road accidents and to open up their communities to market and health care centers to enable them access their economic and health needs.
The District Chief Executve for Nanumba North, Hon. Mohammed Ibn Abass when contacted said the government was working hard to ensure the commencement of work on that road.
He said that the government has since made available 100 million Ghana cedis for engineering works to commerce while efforts were being made to ensure the timely release of the 3 billion dollar China loan facility.
This amount the DCE said would cover projects such as Western region railway, Accra plains irrigation, and Eastern corridor road project among other things.
The DCE hinted that the government intends to also engage Ghana Army Forces Engineering department to undertake quick engineering works on the road to pave way for the construction.
He said works on the eastern corridor road would begin next and assured the demonstrating communities to exercise restrains to allow due diligence to be carried out on the road.
He said the demonstration communities were unaware of the government efforts being made to commerce the construction works on the road and assured the people the government resolved to fulfill her promise to make that road motorable.
Interestingly, the journalists who covered the demonstration chanced upon an accident involving a cargo truck with a registration number ER 928 A loaded with yams fell when the driver tried to rove his way through the potholes on the road.
The accident, according to eyewitnesses left one person dead, seven seriously injured and unspecified number of people treated and discharged with minor injuries at Bimbila Government Hospital. Thousands of tubers of yams were also destroyed. As at the time the journalists were living the scene, the community members were picking up the broken pieces of yams
The current state of the road from Bimbila to Yendi has deteriorated steadily and need an urgent patching before the actual commencement of the construction could begin if at all.

Lands Minister Explains Ghana’s Economic Growth Strategy to Ghanaian Students in UK

The sector Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Mike Hammah has stated that the government led by Prof. John Evans Atta Mills since taken over office had introduced a number of interventions in agricultural sector to serve as a catalyst for Ghana’s economic shared growth and development agenda.

“This strategy which is premised on boosting the nation’s agriculture sector  will help unlock the potentials of rural economies that will create sustainable and accelerated growth and development and reduce poverty among Ghanaians”, Minister said.
The minister who was addressing Ghanaian students in the United Kingdom at a meeting held in the University of Coventry-UK said that Ghana’s economic stability for the past three years was because of these interventions or strategies introduced by the government.
The conference which was under the theme “Change agents in the National Development, Challenges and Prospects” was  organized by the Ghana High Commission in UK in collaboration with the Ghana Students Union ( UK) brought Ghanaian students based in that country  together  to deliberate on how to support the development of the country.
A press statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources Mr. Charles Wereko and issued in Accra and copied to the Enquirer stated that the government was commitment to the broad base development that would ensure that the benefits of the economic growth currently being experienced under the Mills administration trickled down to ordinary Ghanaians.
The statement quoted the minister as saying that the government was focusing on developing agricultural sector under her Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda because the majority of Ghanaians are engaged in agriculture. “The aim is to improve the income of these people whose livelihoods depended on small scale farming to better their living standards”, the statement said.
The Conference, according to the statement provided the minister a platform to update the students on the emerging economic opportunities in Ghana. The minister was also said to have used the opportunity to explain to the students about national and security development that  was encouraging economic growth and attracting foreign investments particularly in the oil and gas industry.
The minister is said to have emphasized that the booming national economy was because of the institutionalization of result-oriented policies and programmes introduced by President Mills which has culminated in an unprecedented economic growth rate of 16.4% in the last quarter.
The minister told the students that the emerging Oil and Gas industry and a key driver of the recent economic upturn, would also be given the needed attention it deserves to accelerate not only the economy, but also improve the institutional and human capacity, that would  ensure that majority of Ghanaians were engaged in that sector.
The Sector Minister therefore charged the students and Ghanaian professionals living in the disapora to return home to take advantage of these opportunities and support the national development agenda.
The High Commissioner Danso-Boafo commended foreign trained Ghanaian graduates for their contributions to development and re-shaping of the political landscape of the country that helped to deepens Ghana’s democracy, and rule of law.
He however called on the government to place the development of the youth at the centre of its development agenda. He also encouraged students to develop an aptitude for innovation and creativity to improve quality of life that would inculcate strong sense of self-reliance, patriotism, nationalism and volunteerism in them.
The president of Ghanaian Students Union in UK, Mr. Evans Gyasi, however called on the youth to come out with innovative and creative ideas to support the development of Ghana.
Dr David Pillsbury, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Coventry said that the institute has over 200 Ghanaian as students and that the institute treasures its partnership with Ghana in the area of human resource development. He hoped the partnership between Ghana and the UK would be sustained for the benefit of both countries.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Prioritize Agric, Government told

Francis Npong, Tamale

The government of Ghana has been challenged to come out with local economic recovery programmes that would support local production. This accordingly would encourage mass production and consumption of locally produced foodstuff which has potentials to improve economic growth of the country.
The Coordinator for Community Life Improvement Programme (CLIP) Mr. Illiasu Adam who challenged the government during GDCA- media engagement meeting in Tamale expressed worry over the continuous importation of millions of tons of rice into the country to the detriment of local rice farmers.
He observed that the country could produce abundant rice to feed the nation if the government could support local farmers with agricultural inputs.
Mr. Adam stated that the country’s inability to produce food enough to feed herself and have to import tons of food was because of absent of favourable agric policies and prioritization.
“In 70s we produced enough rice and fed the nation and exported tons to other countries so why can’t we do same with modern agric technology?, he asked.
The over-reliance on foreign produces, Mr. Adam emphasized was however compounding the problems of poverty and inequality among the people and should be looked at critically.
“Our economy has been static over the years because we allowed other nations to dictate to us how to handle our economy. This however does not make us independence nation”, he said.
Ghana, he said has no excuse to go hungry because she has vast landmass, favourable weather conditions, rivers, lakes and thousands of unused water bodies to produce or commercialize any crop(s) of her choice through irrigation.
The Coordinator appealed to the government to prioritize agric which he said has the potential to engage thousands of unemployed youth, create more jobs, improve national economy, and empower more people financially to reduce the pressure politicians faced regarding job creation and economic recovery programmes.
The Executive Secretary of GDCA, Mr. Rahman Osman explained that his outfit which involved in advocacy has been championing women and youth empowerment. He said that most of their programmes including Community life Improvement Programme, Youth Empowerment for Life, School for Life, Dalun Simli Center among other programmes are human modeling programmes aimed to prepare them for future engagement.  GDCA instituted GDCA-Media engagement a year ago to showcase their activities to the public. The meeting also gives opportunity to journalists to assess their performances on various community programmes and suggest ways to improve them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

28,000 women in Bimbila/ are active farmers-District Dir. Agric.

The women in the Nanumba North District Assembly have been encouraged to go into cashew production and bee keeping as alternative livelihoods activities to reduce extreme poverty among them.
“Though a larger number of women in the district were engaged in farming activities they are still wallowing in poverty and deprivation”, he said.
He said that about 28,000 women are active farmers and involved in agriculture businesses ranging from production, processing and marketing and were playing key role in the development of agriculture and food security.
The Nanumba North District Director of Agriculture Mr. Eugene Yelfaanibe who made call at a district partnership platform (DDP), an initiative by Ghana Communities Developing Association (GDCA) to ensure social accountability to facilitate development at local level.
Under the programme, all district development partners are brought together to deliberate on development policies and programmes being implemented to improve people’s livelihoods.
Mr. Yelfaanibe said that about 28,000 women in the district were engaged in farming, processing and marketing of agricultural products but were still living under abject poverty.
The Director said cashew and bee keeping programme which is new in the district was under the Blinda and gate’s Africa cashew farming programme and geared towards improving economic and social wellbeing of women in society.
The Director noted with concerns the problem women faced in acquiring land to undertake farming activities and appealed to men to release parcels of land to women to undertake cashew farming and bee keeping to augment their livelihoods activities to enable them cater for their wards.
The District Director disclosed that the district had cultivated 1,500 acres of maize, 500 acres of rice, 200 acres of soya beans and 35 acres of sorghum under the government block farm programme this year.
Farmers in the district according to the director could not access Northern Regional Growth Programme (NRGP) because there was no rural bank in the district and appealed to the authorities of the programme to make special provision for farmers in the district to help expand their production to increase food security.
He also appealed to the ministry of agriculture to as a matter of urgency resource his office to facilitate easy monitoring to improve security in the district.
The field officer of GDCA, Mr. Ibrahim Abudu explained that the district partnership platform is an initiative to monitor and check development progress in the beneficiary district.
The organisation, he said release GHc 1,200 every quarter to the beneficiary district bring together stakeholders in development to deliberate and share opinions on the how the districts were faring in terms of development and social justice.
The programme is aimed to ensure social accountability, facilitate collaboration, to aid development at the grass root levels in five beneficiary districts including Tolon/Kunbumgu, Tamale Metropolitan, Yendi Municipal, and Karaga district.  The programe would be expanded to cover another ten districts by next year as part of the organization’s plans to encourage accountability and popular participation of governance.

NRGP assembles agric experts to develop agric business in Ghana

The Secretariat of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), established by the government to fight extreme poverty among farmers in northern Ghana has assembled a core working group of agricultural experts to work out modality to improve agricultural business in Ghana.
The working group would among other things formulate plans to promote agricultural business sector through the use of value chain techniques to make sector attractive segment the teaming unemployed youth.
The group, which comprises 42 agric-business experts, projects, consultants and organizations, and value chain experts, is to ensure the institutional arrangements that provide information and use of value chain techniques that would add values to agricultural products.
The group is also mandated to seek innovations in value chain financing, marketing of value chain produce and products and help train farmers and agriculture stakeholders how to mange business partnership in value chain development and to seek how agricultural commodity value chain would impact positively the rural poor farmers in Ghana.
The National Coordinator of NRGP Mr. Roy Ayariga disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer after the end of a two-day consultative forum on value chain practices held in Tamale.
The forum was under the theme; “professionalizing value chain practices in Ghana” and organized by the northern Rural Growth Programme, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and African Development Bank (AFDB) was parts of efforts to collate views, resources and professional ideas to develop a viable market for agriculture commodities to support poverty reduction among farmers.
Mr. Ayariga who was optimistic the group would work for the betterment of agric business indicated that the core aimed was to empower local farmers to produce more to feed the nation and for export.
“This will empower farmers economically when a market is developed for agric produces”
He explained that Ghanaian farmers over the years have been battling with poverty and deprivation because there was no viable market for their farms produces.
  Mr. Ayariga stressed that NRGP was established by the government of Ghana and her partners to empower farmers and create a viable market and links to their products to fight poverty among them.
The value chain expert Mr. Pascal Dere with NRGP said adopting best practices in value chain would drastically improve the living conditions of farmers at the same times encourage large scale crops cultivation.  
“The value chain practices are working elsewhere and empowered farmers in these countries and that can be done in Ghana too”, he said.

Government urges to ensure satisfied crop seeds supply to farmers

Agricultural experts at a two-day training workshop on food security have urged the government to lead role in researching diseases resistance and high yielding improved crop seeds if the country is to remain food sufficient in the wake of climate change.
According to the experts, food production in the country would dwindle in the coming years due effects of climate change and that the country is likely to suffer from extreme famine should farmers continue to rely on local grains or genetically modified seeds which could not withstand the changing climatic conditions and diseases prone.
 It is against this background that they have recommended joint research effort between the government and crop seeds production companies or institutions to come out with high yielding, diseases resistance and short period fruiting crops to enable farmers cope with the climate change effects.
The workshop which was organized by Community Life Improvement Programme (CLIP), a local NGO championing climate change campaign in northern region was aimed to develop strategies that would help ensure food security in the wake of climate change.
The participants include Agricultural extension agents,  agric and climate change experts, seed production institutions, NGOs in Agriculture, environment and climate change among others deliberated on climate change and coping strategies for local farmers.
It was also used to discuss issues affecting food security in Ghana and how to mitigate effects of climate change on agric to ensure sustained food supply in the country.
Speaking in an interview with the Enquirer, CLIP personnel in-charge of Food and Security Mr. Lukman Yussif explained that the workshop was parts of efforts to improve food production.
It was also to help prepare local farmers against climate change and adopt coping strategies to sustain food production and supply throughout the country.
He explained that research show that food production particularly rice and maize has reduced significantly for the past two years because of non availability of improved seeds, coupled with emergence of climate change hence the need for the country to prepare her farmers against effects of climate change.
He observed with concerns that majority of farmers were planting un-improved seeds or seeds which qualities could not be determining coupled with unavaibility of farm inputs dwindling food production.
He however appealed to the government to ensure that crop seeds supply to farmers are satisfied, diseases resistance, and high yielding to ensure continue supply of food in the country.