Ghana needs local solutions to climate change menace – Nsenkyire
Ghana needs collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to find local solutions to the climate change menace to ensure that the country was food secure, Mr Edward Nsenkyire, Chairman of the National Climate Change Committee, said on Wednesday.
“Our agriculture vulnerability requires that we adapt or adjust our practices to ensure that we are food secure and this depends on collaborative effort form policy makers, researchers, agriculture workers and academicians among others” Mr Nsenkyire said at the first Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) Climate Change roundtable in Accra.
It was in collaboration with the African Adaption Research Centre of Excellence (AARC) and the International Research Centre (IDRC) and was on the theme,” Climate Change Vulnerability and Ghana’s Food Security”.
The discussion hopes to help mainstream the impacts of climate change into development planning and policy with the relevant scientific input, local expertise and contextualized knowledge to provide roadmaps for development investment.
Mr Nsenkyire said the impact of food security were largely manifested in reduction of soil fertility due to changes in precipitation and fertility, deficit in rainfall resulting in desertification and reduced water for animals, low rainfall or flooding resulting in low yields, loss of crop land from erosion among other things.
He was of the view that in the event of erratic rains, crop –planting were likely to change and noted that climate studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency projected that by 2080 the amount of rainfall may not be able to produce cocoa profitably, cassava yields will reduce by 1323, and 53 per cent in 2020, 2050 and 2080 respectively in addition to low fish catch due to Sea Surface Temperature (SST).
These notwithstanding government, he said had strongly demonstrated its commitment to integrate climate change into national development planning and had been translated into the capturing climate change in the national medium-term development blueprint and the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda.
He called for investment into agriculture in terms of research and development to improve generic make-up of crops, animal and trees to withstand the harsh condition climate change would pose.
Dr Sam Ardey Codjoe, Deputy Director of RIPS, said climate change had mixed opportunities for Ghana in terms of processing and storage of food because dryness was a key component of storage while floods could also hamper storage.
He noted that though there were three pillars in food security namely, food utilization, access, and availability, Ghana’s concentration was mainly on availability adding, Ghana was likely to be hard hit and that the hot temperatures and flooding being experience were an indication.
According to him, rain pattern since 1940 had been the same but there was a decrease especially in the number of days, the torrents and it attendant floods.
Dr Barnabas Amisigo, Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said Ghana had good water resources but climate change could have adverse impact on them in the face of changing rainfall pattern.
The country’s water management systems were too rigid, he said, and that its abstraction of water for consumptive use was also very small and called for proper management of water resources so that in the advent of harsh weather patterns in the country was not found wanting.
Deputy Director of Land and Water Management of the Agriculture Ministry,Mr Delali Nutsukpo, said Ghana’s agriculture and food systems were highly vulnerable to Climate Change variability and noted that though the country was food sufficient in the short term based on roots and tubers crop production in the medium to long term food security was not assured.
He recommended the need to put in place smart climate change agriculture policy and increase support towards climate change research.
Professor John Blay of the University Of Cape Coast School Of Biological Sciences, said Ghana’s fish status was 85 per cent marine and 15 per cent inland and noted that there had been decreases in fisheries with some stocks extinguished.
He said there was the need to expand aquaculture sustainability to make up for shortfalls in that the change in seasonal upwelling which would affect fish productivity, distribution and it seasonality.
Prof John Gyapong, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Office of Research, Innovation and Development of the University of Ghana, said climate change should be taken seriously and put in place mechanisms to address the negative impact that it posed to the country.