Climate Change: Harsh impact pulls experts to Garu-Tempane District.

Groups of participants at the training programme in the Garu-Tempane District.

Experts have raced to the Garu-Tempane District to put in place measures to help vulnerable people survive the harsh toll of the world’s changing climate.

The Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in that area, Grace Nkaw, recently told journalists that the district, where crop farming, livestock rearing, malt processing and onion production are the predominant livelihood activities, “is experiencing almost all the disasters that man can think about”.

The experts showed up in the district during a training programme organised there by Oxfam Ghana. Dubbed Participatory Capacity Vulnerabilities Assessment/ Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (PCVA/VRA), the programme is intended to boost the knowledge and skills of partners and stakeholders in assisting communities to identify hazards triggered by Climate Change and develop strategies to reduce their impact through mitigation and adaptation.

The programme, launched amid public fears of food insecurity due to a prolonged dry spell being experienced in the Upper East Region, brought together natives of the district area as well as officials of NADMO, Garu-Tempane District Assembly, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the Presbyterian Agric Station in the Garu-Tempane District and the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).

It afforded participants the opportunity to identify the hazards that do occur in the area. These include erratic rainfall, flooding, bushfire, dry spell, excessive heat, strange diseases and rainstorm among others. The worst-hit in the area are widows, children, women, persons with disability and the elderly.

“Across the district, as I talk we have ten of our schools that have been ripped off by rainstorm this year, and that is between May and June. We have recorded about one thousand eight hundred houses that have been destroyed by windstorm. We have lost six lives in the district as a result of thunder and lightning. The issues of disaster have become so critical in the Garu-Tempane District,” Mrs. Nkaw disclosed to the newsmen at the close of the programme.

Oxfam Ghana, through its Enhancing Livelihood through Climate Change Adaptation Programmes (ELCAP), has introduced some environmentally friendly Energy Saving Stoves (ESS) in sixteen communities in Ghana’s north, including Garu-Tempane. The organisation also has taken scores of women through an enterprise training programme, established a micro-credit union known as Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) for rural folks and introduced compost in communities where fertiliser has been extremely hard to come by.

“We rely on the compost whilst we are waiting for the fertiliser,” Haruna Abambilla, a farmer, told the Daily Dispatch at Garu. “It is able to sustain our crops until we are able to get the fertiliser. If we had gotten the government’s fertiliser, the crops would have grown bigger than what you can see now. But for the compost, too, the crops could have died altogether.”

Another farmer, Madam Anamshakiya Gambedu, said: “There was ever a time we thought our lives had come to an end for lack of fertiliser. You know nowadays, your crops will not do well without fertiliser. But the compost has come to give us much hope.”

In an interview with this paper, Oxfam Ghana’s Programmes and Campaigns Manager, Mohammed-Anwar Sadat Adam, said the poor rainfall pattern being experienced in the region could spell food security crisis.

“As you would notice in many of the communities that we have visited, the rains are not coming. And you see some of the food crops drying or getting withered. And that is a source of concern. Yes, we are doing our widow’s mites; but sometimes we need to look at it further, beyond what we are doing. We are providing communities with early-maturing and drought-tolerant seed varieties that they can use, diversifying their livelihoods into such income-generating activities as livestock rearing, bee keeping, processing of shea butter and other things to cushion them in case the rainfall pattern remains as it is now. We hope the situation changes. But if doesn’t change over the next two to three weeks, we might be heading for some food security challenges in this part of the country,” Mr. Adam stated.

Celebrated crop scientist and Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), Dr. Roger Kanton, graced the programme. He underscored the urgent need for Ghana to look to home-grown seed varieties as a more suitable answer to Climate Change than foreign seeds.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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