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Forest reserves not meant for charcoal production – Forestry Commission

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The Forestry Commission has warned that forest reserves in the Northern Region are for conservation purposes and not for charcoal production.

Mr Ebenezer Djagbletey, Regional Manager of the Commission, who gave the warning, said portions of land along forest reserves in the region had been degraded for charcoal and other purposes thus exposing the environment to dire climatic consequences.

Mr Djagbletey said the practice was widespread in the Region, adding that the Commission recently intercepted a large quantity of bags of charcoal being transported out of the area.

He said the Commission was liaising with the Ghana Police Service to prosecute the owners.

Mr Djagbletey was speaking at a day’s Regional Conference on Bushfires, Climate Change and Food Security in Northern Ghana, in Tamale on Thursday.

His topic was: “Localising the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in Northern Ghana.”

The conference, which was organised by Community Life Improvement Programme (CLIP), a Northern-Ghana based NGO, examined various human-induced agricultural activities, their impact on climatic change and strategies for adoption of climate change coping mechanisms.

It formed part of CLIP’s Food for Life (F4L) project, which aimed at encouraging small-holder farmers to apply localised and preventive strategies in addressing climate change issues for sustainable livelihoods.

It was attended by personnel from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), research and academic institutions, officers from the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, NGOs and Farmer-Based Organisations.

Mr Djagbletey said felling of tress for charcoal, amongst other negative environmental practices, had led to the prolong drought situation the Region, reduced agriculture yield and persistence of diseases such as cerebro spinal meningitis and diarrhoea.

He therefore, called for a shift from fossil fuel to renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydro and bio-fuels to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Mr Ernest Dwamena, Regional Food Security Officer of MOFA, who presented a paper: “Climate Change and Food Security Situation in Northern Ghana,” said the Region had started experiencing the impact of climate change, adding that its food production levels had reduced below its potential.

Mr Dwamena called on farmers to desist from farming close to banks of rivers to prevent food crops from being washed away during floods.

Dr Akwasi Abunyewa, Soil/Remote Sensing Specialist at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, called for conservation and sound environmental practices to reduce the impact of carbon dioxide and other green house gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Mr Abubakari Mutari, F4L Focal Person at CLIP, said the NGO would engage farmers to appreciate the reality of the climate change phenomenon and adopt best farming practices to mitigate its effects.

Source: GNA

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