Poverty is a major cause of land degradation in Upper West Region – NGO

Mrs Salifu Ayi, the Upper West Regional Coordinator for Rural Urban Partnership for Africa (RUPFA), an NGO has said the main cause of land degradation in the Region was poverty.

She said human activities responsible for the fast degradation of the land were shifting cultivation, intensive farming on a piece of land, indiscriminate felling of trees for fuel and charcoal production, bush burning, over grazing and small scale mining.

Mrs Ayi said poverty in the region was severe and the people had to device means for living and therefore engaged in these activities for their livelihood.

This contained in a statement issued by Isaac Dzidzoamenu, Public Relations Manager of RUPFA and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

Mrs Ayi said the Tilli (Bawku West), Bopong, Sissili Central, Pogi, Kandembeli, Wiaga and Gia (Builsa) Siriku (Bolgatanga), forest reserves experienced annual bush burning between November and April during the long drought.

“Gold mining is certainly one of the reasons for the enormous land degradation in the Region, gold was mined during the colonial administration and continued to be mined around Nangodi (Talensi –Nabdam District), about 24 kilometres from Bolgatanga on the Bolgatanga-Bawku road,” she said.

Mrs Ayi said small scale mining known as ‘galamsey’ had become rampant in Tongo, Sheaga, Duusi, Pelengu and other small villages.

She said ‘galamsey’ at Kadema, Chansa and Bachonsa in the Builsa District had been stopped by the police for their effect on the environment.

“It is intriguing to note that Nangodi, being the worse hit by mining activities, ironically is stony thus compelling inhabitants to pick up and gather these stones just to create space for planting,” she said.

Mrs Ayi said soil erosion, widespread form of soil degradation, could have negative effect on economic development in the country which depended heavily on land, forests, and water bodies for agricultural growth and development.

She said human factors driving long-term soil and vegetation degradation in Region were reflected in unsustainable farming practices, removal of vegetation cover, mining activities, urbanisation and industrial activities caused by increased population growth pressures.

Source: GNA

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