|Tree plants prepared for planting|
Arguably, nearly all the causative factors of negative climate change effects and environmental degradation in many parts of Northern Ghana are human induced. Talk of bush burning, indiscriminate felling of trees, charcoal production, overgrazing by ruminants and bad farming practices among others, and the results are too glaring for everyone to see.
The 1952 Forest Inventory Record of Ghana indicates that the total tree cover of the three regions of the North was 41,600 kilometres square, representing 46% of the total land area of the entire North.
However, by 1996 approximately 40% of the woodland was estimated to have been exposed to acute soil erosion and other human activities, meaning that about 38,000 hectares of tree cover are lost yearly in the three regions.
Thus, one wonders why some residents of the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions of Ghana are refusing to come to terms with the fact that, their persistent abuse of the natural environment is negatively affecting their sources of livelihoods.
Luckily however, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has in recent years initiated a recovery operation aimed at assisting over 400,000 people in these regions, who have been badly hit by recurrent floods, droughts and rising food prices in domestic markets.
Most of these people are participating in what WFP call “food-for-work” –a programme that supports the re-construction of vital community infrastructure such as desilting of dug-outs and creation of forest plantations through beneficiaries as source of labour and giving them (beneficiaries) food rations after engaging them to do the work.
|A woman cooking her share of the WFP food ration|
Recently the WFP according to Nasigri Mahamadu, Assistant Manager in charge of Operations at the Walewale Forestry Services Division of the Forestry Commission, presented a total of 75 bags of white beans, 746 bags of white maize, 500 gallons of edible oil and 15 bags of iodated salt to 13 communities in the West Mamprusi, Mamprugu Moaduri and Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo Districts in the Northern Region.
The beneficiaries, he noted, include Mishio, Moshefongu/Walewale and Zua in the West Mamprusi District; Tantala and Daboseisi in Mamprugu Moaduri District as well as Jinlik number 1, Jinlik number 2, Yunyoo, Gbetmumpaak, Kauk, Namongo and Chintilung in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District.
Mr. Nasigri told Savannahnews in an interview, that the donation, which was the second in 2013 with the same quantity as the first one presented in early April/May, was in line with the food-for-work initiative implemented by WFP and supported also by the Forestry Services Division. A total of 323 residents comprising of 173 men and 150 women in all 13 communities benefited from the food ration, he disclosed.
According to Mr. Nasigri, a total of 323 hectares of forest plantations had also been created across all communities in the three districts, adding that, trees planted included cashew, moringa, acacia, teak, ceiba, eucalyptus, neem, grafted mangoes and mahogany for the purposes of medicine, woodlot for fuel wood, local building construction, food and income as well as carbon sequestration and desertification control.