He said since the practice is not enshrined in the Holy Bible and Holy Quran and neither a practice of traditionalists, there is no justification whatsoever for any citizen to engage in wanton destruction of the natural environment through bush fire.
“The best way to farm and to improve upon the yields of your crops is to allow the grass and leaves of trees to get rotten and dissolve into the soil” Mr. Abdulai said this at a climate change adaptation learning forum organised by the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) in Savelugu.
The forum forms part of the implementation of: “Climate Change Adaptation in Northern Ghana Enhanced (CHANGE) project by RAINS in five communities in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality with funding support from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and the Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC).
Checks by Savannahnews, suggests bush burning has already started in parts of the municipality and this the MCE observed, could pose a threat to farmers who are yet to harvest most of their crops and cart their produce including rice and maize home.
Even though the municipality has byelaws prohibiting people from engaging in negative environmental practices, Mr. Abdulai confessed that, the laws are not punitive enough to discourage people from engaging in the practice. “I’ll make sure that the byelaws are reviewed and provide enough punishments that will discourage people from burning the bush and felling trees any how”, he stressed.
According to him, the Assembly through his leadership is also introducing a policy that will increase the tree population in all communities in the municipality. This, he said, would add up to the policy of avoiding tree felling during any kind of construction unless the tree is considered an obstruction to the particular construction work.
The effects of climate change are increasingly wreaking havoc on residents of Northern Ghana, particularly smallholder farmers in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions who constitute about 80 percent of the total population or labour force in each of the regions.
These effects manifest in the form of influx of pest, scorching sun, excessive heat, low humidity, erratic rainfall, perennial storm/flood and prolong drought which negatively affect farmers. As a result, many of the farmers in these regions are increasingly faced with crop failure or low yields.
|File pic. 2007 flood, Buipe|
One of the most prominent climate change effects in recent times is the 2007 flood disaster that hit parts of Northern Ghana in 2007. The flood destroyed the lives of human beings and animals, arable lands, homes, public buildings including schools, health centres and markets among others.
About half a million people were displaced, more than fifty people killed, over thirty thousand houses collapsed and nearly two hundred thousand metric tons of food crops were destroyed. An estimated 8 million dollars was spent by government on sustainable relief development and another 25 million dollars on direct emergency funding.
Ghana, like many other African countries, is not a major contributor to green house gasses or industrial pollution but, she is one of the most affected by climate change effects. The country contributed about 9.6% representing 0.34 tons to emissions in 2008 and 2009 according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
At the moment, an estimated 450 people are benefiting from the CHANGE project. At its inception 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.
The CHANGE project, apart from being implemented in Yilikpani, Zoosali, Kpachelo, Tindang and Langa the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality in the Northern Region, is also benefiting several thousands of people in the Upper East and Upper West Regions.
|Exec. Dir. RAINS|
About 84,000 women and men smallholder farmers in 17 communities in the district and municipalities 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 Executive Director of RAINS Mohammed Hardi Tijani said his organisation’s intervention in the area of food security is as a result of a long term observation being made regarding how many children dropout from school due to hunger or lack of food at home.
He explained that, in order to stop or pre-empt this abnormally which is negatively affecting quality education delivery and high enrolment of females in school, RAINS decided to provide support to communities in which it is working to improve upon education outcomes.
The Project Officer Mohammed Kamel Damma indicated that, smallholder farmers have reported increase in yields in the 2013 and 2014 farming season due to improved adaptive capacity and increased resilience to the impacts of climate change on agriculture, food security and livelihoods.
Smallholder farmers in project communities, he noted, have also reduced risk of climate change impact on their household livelihoods due to increased access to information about climate change and its effects, and strengthened capacity to implement adaptive measures.
RAINS, is a non-governmental organisation set up by a group of social development activists in Northern Ghana in 1993. Since its foundation, RAINS has focused on improving the quality of life particularly for children, women, girls and the disabled in the Northern Region.