The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Kessena-Nankana West, Mr Thomas Adda Dalu has observed that Renewable Energy Technology Products have the greatest potential of curbing environmental degradation in the three northern regions.
The DCE made the observation in a speech read for him on Tuesday at Paga during an exhibition of Renewable Energy Products by various entrepreneurs drawn from across the country.
He said if communities in the three Northern Regions were sensitized and empowered with Renewable Energy Products they would reduce the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for charcoal burning.
He further stated that adaptation of the usage of Renewable Energy Technology Products such as improved solar energy cooking stoves would also reduce the suffering of women who commute long distances in search of fuelwood from the bush and mostly end up being raped by some Fulani headsmen.
He therefore called on residents of the area to embrace the use of Renewable Energy products and encourage people to patronize them to reduce the spate of environmental degradation in the area.
Mr Dalu indicated that solar home systems that can also help supplement government’s rural electrification project. “For instance the electricity usage rate in my District is only 40 per cent which means that out of the 122 communities only 44 of them are connected to the national grid even though there are plans in place to improve upon the situation.”
He noted that because the rest of the communities lacked access to electricity, their ultimate source of energy would be to continue to fell trees which had its consequences and said the use of fuel wood did not only affect the environment but women’s health as well.
The DCE said, “No wonder our District is one the most affected areas in terms of desertification. These are all issues the District and all stakeholders need to address”.
He explained that to overcome the problem, the Assembly with capacity building and funding from the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) had started a baseline study on Renewable Energy in the District in 20ll which was almost complete.
“This report will not only give us the true status of renewable energy in the District, but also show us to improve our overall development planning and decision-making, especially on energy issues in the District”
The DCE commended SNV and the Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability Ghana (ORGISS, Ghana), the programme’s implementer, for their support.
The Coordinator of ORGISS Ghana, Mr Julius Awaregya Atudeko called on the Ghana Health Service, Schools, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to acquire the Renewable Energy Technology products for cooking, undertake academic work and storing pharmaceutical drugs in the rural areas.
He noted that the solar energy water pumping apart from providing water for communities, could also be used for dry season farming.
Mr Mohammed Sachibu, Advisor of Renewable Energy of SNV said the energy supply and demand equation revealed a predominance of biomass without fuel wood plantations. Consequently, he noted, deforestation, climatic change and energy insecurity were two major challenges that Ghana faced currently.
He said the environmental challenges posed as result of the failure to replant and reclaim the forest therefore made the energy sector a top priority for government and development partners such as SNV.
SNV is working in the same areas with other partners in Northern, Upper West, Greater, Ashanti regions among other areas and its strategic objective is to facilitate access to solar energy technology for improved livelihoods and development.
Renewable Energy Products that were exhibited attracted a number of observers. The exhibits included improved cook stoves, Solar Lanterns, Solar Home Systems, Solar Water Pumps and Installation and machine services among others.