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Agric workers brainstorm to minimize effects on climate change

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Cassava - a staple food in Ghana

Ghana’s 0.05 contribution to the greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane has been described as minimal, yet, it is one of the countries to suffer the greatest impact of climate change.

This is due to the fact that the effect of the phenomenon on tropical countries is higher.

GHG are responsible for the warming of the earth and scientific evidence indicates that due to activities of man, they had greatly increased over the years impacting negatively on agriculture thereby threatening food security in most tropical countries.

Mr Theodore Asimeng, an officer of the Environmental Application Technology, said this at a day’s training workshop on “Climate Change and Right to Food in Ghana,” organized by the Central Regional branch of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) with support from Action Aid Ghana in Cape Coast on Thursday.

The workshop, attended by 35 workers drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Parks and Gardens, Twifo Oil Palm Plantation and the Cocoa Board, seeks to inform and promote dialogue among participants about climate change and its implications for agriculture and food security in the country.

He expressed regret that even though the so called developed countries like the United States of America and Germany, and recently China, contribute much of the GHS, the effects would be felt in tropical countries whose agricultural activities and food security are being threatened due to erratic rainfall pattern and drought in some cases.

Mr Asimeng expressed concern about the effects of global warming on agriculture in Ghana and pointed out that a lot of people are losing their livelihood due to flooding/drought and called for measures to mitigate the effects because agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy.

He said agriculture contributed to about 40 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product between 2006 and 2009 and was a major employer accounting for about 60 per cent of all employment.

On the impacts of climate change on agriculture, he said it reduced access to loans for agricultural purposes and also increased apathy to farming generally due to bad rainfall patterns.

Mr Karim Saagbul, Programme Officer of GAWU, said the workshop would explore ways of reducing impacts of climate change on the lives of Ghanaians, come up with clear recommendations for Government to tackle the issue and also get an informed workforce of agricultural workers that would pass on the knowledge acquired.

Mr Saagbul mentioned some causes of food insecurity as prolonged droughts and desertification, over-flooding, crop failure, disease and pest infestation, poor natural resource management, poor harvesting and lack of technology.

He said agriculture, forestry and fisheries were sensitive to climate and their production processes were likely to be affected by climate change which would affect livelihoods and access to food at both the global and local levels.

According to him, if agricultural production in low income countries such as Ghana was affected by climate change, the livelihoods of large numbers of the rural poor would be put at risk and their vulnerability to food insecurity would increase.

On the way forward, he said mitigating climate change would be critical to avoiding future breakdowns in food and livelihood systems, land conversion from forest to pasture or cropland, intensive crop and livestock production.

Source: GNA

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