Ghanaian farmers to suffer from Climate Change

Ghanaian farmers to suffer from Climate Change

Farmers

The dependence on rain-fed agriculture across the country makes farmers in Ghana particularly vulnerable to climate change.

For instance, the high levels of dependence on agriculture for livelihoods in the north in particular, further makes it the most vulnerable region to climate change.

The area is also climatically sensitive with low, decreasing rainfall and frequent recurring droughts making the situation more serious.

Mr Emmanuel Salu, Director and Head of Environmental Education Department of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said this at a workshop on Environmental and Climate Change Policy Node held in Accra.

The workshop, organised for stakeholders and institutions by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)- Science, Technology, and Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) in collaboration with the Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA) was on the theme: “Enhancing the Adaptation of Smallholder Farmers Especially Women to Climate Change for Improved Agricultural Production in Ghana”.

Mr Salu said there had been a visible evidence of climate change in Ghana and that included rising temperatures in all ecological zones, rainfall levels and patterns increasingly erratic, streams drying up having adverse impacts on livelihoods, health, nutrition and hydropower generation.

He said majority of farmers interviewed had also expressed the belief that temperature had become warmer with the timing of the rains becoming irregular and unpredictable. There were also increased droughts.

He said there was the need for government and other stakeholders to implement adaptable and mitigation strategies to address the situation since any change in crop yields and distribution would affect livelihoods.

Mr Salu suggested that adaptation strategies should include development or acquisition and use of drought varieties, the use of early maturing genotypes, use of conservation agriculture including low tillage, altered planting dates to suits changing cropping cycles and an increased use of irrigation.

He called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to dialogue with scientists, farmers, development partners and financial institutions on how to develop the sectors that were sensitive to climate vulnerability and sustainable exploitation.

Dr Nelson Obirih-Opareh, Project Coordinator of Environment and Climate Change Policy Action Node, said the project had the life span of two and half years starting from November 2012 and ending in May 2015.

He said the overall goal of the project was to improve food security and reduce income volatility for smallholder farmers by enhancing their adaptation to climate change and variability in the breadbasket regions of Ghana.

Dr Kwasi Ampofo, Director of Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA), said the institution “works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers, particularly, women farmers, majority of who produce most of Africa’s food with minimal resources and little government support”.

He said AGRA wanted to ensure that such smallholders had access to seeds and healthy soils; access to markets, information, financing, storage and transport; and policies that provided them with comprehensive support.

“Through developing Africa’s high-potential breadbasket areas, and boosting farm productivity across more challenging environments, AGRA works to transform smallholder agriculture into high productive, efficient, sustainable and competitive system, while protecting the environment.”

Mr Ampofo explained that the Environment and Climate Change Policy Action Node was one of the five main policy Action projects in Ghana and in other parts of Africa to help AGRA achieve its mission of food security and prosperity among smallholder farmers.+

-GNA

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