Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Communities Recognise The Need To Fight Climate Change Effects

Five communities in the Savelugu-Nanton District of the Northern Region seemed to have come to terms with the challenges being posed by climate change variability effects, and are now appealing to government and its stakeholders for assistance towards addressing the phenomenon.

At an adaptation training workshop organised for representatives of Kpachilo, Tindang, Zoosali, Langa and Yilikpani communities, varied recommendations on how to combat climate change effects and promote other livelihood forms of citizens were made by participants.

These recommendations (communities prioritise adaptation strategies) according to the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) – organizers of the workshop, will be incorporated in the Savelugu-Nanton District Assembly Medium Term Development Plan for efficient and effective implementation.

Among other things, these communities, which are beneficiaries of the Climate Change Adaptation in Northern Ghana Enhanced (CHANGE) project, want government to provide them with irrigation facilities to enable them go into dry season farming since rainfall during the rainy season sometimes comes with havoc instead of opportunities. 

They are also advocating for support from the local government and non-governmental organisations to aid them with social amenities such as health centres, schools and boreholes, and build their capacity in alternative livelihood options so as to promote economic activities in their localities.

Mohammed Kamil Damma, CHANGE Coordinator told Savannahnews in an interview that, communities’ members have also asked to be linked to available markets to enable them sell their shea nuts and butter for income.

According to Mohammed, the communities are further asking for enhanced capacity to enable them protect and manage their ecosystems in order to ensure sustainable use of natural resources.

He explained that, adequate support to the communities through the enactment, promotion and enforcement of environment and sanitation bye-laws will help alleviate their plight. “For instance, support in skills acquisition in other vocations such as carpentry, masonry, tailoring, etc; livestock rearing as well as provision of alternative means of home construction with durable materials will reduce the overdependence of the people on the environment”, he said.

The current situation in the five communities, Savannahnews understands, is as a result of indiscriminate felling of trees, improper land use, bush burning, charcoal production and others which are major obstacles to food security. 

An estimated 450 people are benefiting from the CHANGE project. During the start of the project in January 2013, capacities of beneficiaries were built on good land use practices, the need to desist from bush burning and indiscriminate felling of trees, among others.

Preliminary evaluation of the project in all communities suggests that the results so far, are good. Awabu Lansah, a 45-year old female farmer from Langa said: “Initial training given to us has helped to improve farming activities….now we don’t spend money to buy fertiliser again because we use the animal excreta to farm. We don’t practice bush burning and we don’t also encourage it.”

Abdulai Imoro, 50, another disclosed: “I and other community members have made some good harvest last year from maize. We have decided to continue to apply the knowledge acquired after the project ends… we won’t burn the bush, we won’t cut down trees so that rain will come more and we’ll farm to take care of our families.”

Meanwhile, the CHANGE project apart from being implemented in the Northern Region is also benefiting several thousands of people in the Upper East and Upper West Regions respectively.

About 84,000 women and men small-scale farmers in seventeen communities in the districts of Savelugu-Nanton, Sissala East and Bolgatanga are targeted to improve adaptive capacity and resilience to improve the impacts of climate change on agriculture, food security, and livelihoods.

The project will improve the quality and accessibility of locally relevant information about climate, weather, and innovative agricultural practices, and strengthen community- and radio-based agricultural extension services. 

The project is expected to ultimately help increase farm yields and income, lessen the negative impact of erratic rainfall, rising temperatures and declining crop yields which are driving farmers, particularly women deeper into poverty.

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