The Ghana Country Director for Farm Radio International, Benjamin Fiafor, has urged journalists to increase their reportage and discourse on agriculture and climate change variability effects in order to get the needed attention of government and its allies to address their core problems.
He believed too much attention was being given to other issues by journalists to the neglect of climate change and its effects as well as increasing challenges confronting the country’s agriculture.
Speaking at a refresher training workshop organised for journalists and Oxfam’s CRAFS Project Officers on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, Mr. Fiafor said climate change effects were impacting negatively on agriculture and as a result, farmers were unexpectedly recording low yields.
Organised by Oxfam as part of the implementation of its three-year (April 2015 – March 2018) Climate Resilient and Agricultural Food Systems (CRAFS) project in Northern Ghana, the workshop sought to evaluate previous activities and results and restrategise for the remaining 2 years.
CRAFS seeks to contribute to the fight against poverty and the negative effects of climate change by enhancing the livelihood security and capacity for community-based adaptation measures for the most vulnerable.
CRAFS is being implemented in four (4) districts. The districts include East Mamprusi (Northern Region), Garu-Tempane (Upper East Region), Nandom and Daffiama-Bussie-Issah (Upper West Region) covering a total of 20 communities. The project also targets a total of 4,500 smallholder farmers who are living in poor conditions.
|A section of participants|
Mr. Fiafor urged journalists to frequently highlight negative human activities such as bush burning, destruction of forest reserves and pollution of water bodies which exacerbate climate change effects leading to irregular rainfall, drought and low crop yields.
“Frequent highlight of these negative human activities and their impact on agriculture is what will compel government to attach great importance to addressing climate change effects and challenges confronting agriculture”, he emphasised.
He also observed that there was the need for more journalists to be trained on climate change and agriculture reporting in order to be on top of issues whenever they were reporting. “Journalists should also develop interest in learning about these subjects to enable them report effectively”, he added.
The Advocacy Officer in charge of Oxfam Ghana country programme, Mrs. Lillian Mwintome Kuutiero, reiterated that series of meetings had been held with 20 communities and local authorities in the four beneficiary districts to enable local people to identify key challenges they faced and support them to work with the authorities to address these challenges.
According to her, the organisation had also raised awareness on climate change and how community people could cope with erratic weather conditions. She explained that these awareness were carried out through radio programmes, advertising on 45 billboards, creation of clubs in 25 basic and senior high schools as well as training of journalists to report on the issues of climate change and agriculture.
“Some of the district assemblies have also adopted our plans and integrating them into their medium term development programmes and for us this is an indication that they appreciate what we’re doing to address climate change issues in their districts”, Mrs. Kuutiero indicated.
Oxfam Ghana is an international confederation of 19 organisations networked in over 90 countries with the common aim of building a future free from the injustices of poverty. Since 1986, Oxfam has invested in water and sanitation, education, agriculture and other sectors in Ghana, especially Northern Ghana.