Friday, July 13, 2012

Climate Change: Failed Crops put Fears in Farmers

Picture: Millet farm performing poorly at Farfar                                                              Credit: Npong Francis

Farmers in Fafar, a farming community in the Garu-Tampane District of the Upper East Region have predicted food shortages, severe hunger and starvation in the near future if nothing is done to improve on the current traditional farming and cropping system.

According to the farmers, the traditional crops are failing them because of inconsistent rainfall and high temperatures and that something urgent ought to be done about crop failures to protect the livelihoods of the farmers to cope with the forseeable severity of the food situation. 

They however, called on the ministry for Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to support farmers with short duration or maturing, drought and heat tolerant crops and new technologies particularly irrigation system to support food production.

The farmers including women also complained about the none availability of farm inputs and that alternative fertilizer should be developed because chemical fertilizer which cost has made them more dependable instead of self suffcient should be replaced with cheap and effective ferlizer. The women in particularly indicated that the cost of the quantity of fertilizer they needed to produce an acre of maize today is more than what they were applying previous on the same piece of farmland and that ought to be looked by the goverment.    

They intimated that failure by the government to do something quick such as introducing drought tolerant variaty crops and short duratioon maturing crops would plounge the nation under food insufficient.

These farmers were contributing to discussions on food security, livelihoods development, agriculture and climate change adaptation at a community engagement meeting held at Farfar Community in the Garu Tempane District of the UER.
The programme which was organised by the Presbyterian Agriculture Station Garu (PAS-G) under the Care International Ghana’s Adaptation Learning Programme was to solicit information from the community on their livelihoods activities.

The assembly member for Farfar Electoral Area, Mr. Joseph Duut Yennukua thanked Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) and Presbytarian Agricultural Station in Garu for bringing officers from various decentralized government agencies into the community. He pointed out that whose farming and livelihoods situations were deteriorating need urgent attention and support but it was difficult for them to acces such supports to improve on their lots.

He also called the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Kwesi Ahwoi to as a matter of urgency supply them with short duration improved crop variaties and extension officers to support their farming activities. The Upper East Regional Director of the Savanna Agriculture Research Station (SARI), Dr. Roger Kanton promised to supply the community with short duration (Abontem) and high quality protein maize variaties to improve on the crop production.

The Monitoring and Evaluation officer of CARE International Ghana, Mr. Thomas Ayamga explained that, the community engagement fora are initiatives by Adaptation Learning Programme to make social services available to community members to improve not only on livelihoods, but also help deepen governance, promote participatory democracy, bridge the relationship gap between the comunities and duty bearers and bring governance to the doorsteps of the communities.

He stated that, the fora were to support community to identify gaps and design their development action plans and strategies to enable benefit from currently ongoing programmes being implemented by the government and non government agencies.
Picture: farmer lamenting failure of crops during a community engagement forum at Farfar, Garu-Tampane District, Ghana.
The fora, which were held in eight communities including Zambulugu, Jawani, Demia &Saamini, Tariganga, Akara, Farfar and Kugri in the Northern and Upper East regions respectively also  sought to educate farmers on adaptation and mitigation measures against the effects of climate change and climate variabilities.

It engaged decentralized departments such as the district assemblies (DAs), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and National Disaster Management Organisations (NADMO) and Meteological Agency (GMA) were to enable them respond to the communties felt needs such as the basic infrastructure including roads, water, health posts, schools and agricultural extention services among other public services to support the people prepare adequately for climate change adaptation, explained the Local Governance and Advocacy officer for Care International Ghana, Francis Babongte Avura.

Mr. Avura stated that, the process was not only to deepen participatory democracy and bridge the relationship gap between the decentralized offices and educate the communities on the available opportunities to be sourced to improve on their lots but was also to gather testimonies from communities the changes that took place and impacted negatively on their economic and social lives.

The programme Manager for Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), Mr Romanus Gyang who also participated keenly in the processes told the Enquirer in an interview that ALP was a community driven and life changing programme and that the programme was supporting vulnerable communities to adapt to the effects of climate change and climate variabilities for sustainable livelihoods.

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