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Northern Ghana communities adapt measures to meet challenges of climate change

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DesertificationSome communities in the Northern and Upper East Regions have stopped on farm bush burning and rather taken to compost making to improve crop yield, as part of livelihood adaptation measures to meet the challenges of climate change.

The eight communities, Tariganga, Kugri, Akara, and Farfar in the Garu-tempane District and Zambulugu, Saamini, Dimea  and Jawani in the East Manprusi District,  are also into the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), where groups save and borrow on their own terms, group farming, livestock rearing, dry season farming and tree growing, all with support from the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) under CARE International,

At a meeting in Tamale to review ALP sponsored activities, mainly the various adaptation livelihood measures taken by the communities to meet the effects of climate change, Mr Paul Agangiba from Akara and Mr Mahamudu Salifu from Zambulugu, both farmers, said their communities, like the six others, had with the consent of the chiefs and elders, agreed to stop bush burning and had formed fire prevention committees to ensure that nobody burnt farm residue or bush, or fell trees for sale as fuel wood or charcoal as they used to do.

This, they explained, would enable them to get enough organic matter to make compost for fertilizing their farms and also preserve the grass for grazing and thatch for their houses.

They said ALP, with its implementing agents such as the Presbyterian Agriculture station in Garu (PAS-GARU) and the Partners in Rural Empowerment and Development (PARE) based in the East Manprusi District, had educated them on the need to not only adapt measures that would improve their livelihood in the midst of challenges of climate change, but also conserve and improve the environment as a long-term adaptation measure.

With shorter rainfall periods and subsequent poor yields from rain-fed agriculture, the communities had also taken to dry season farming. Mr Salifu said the Zambulugu community had decided to try an improved variety of cassava from the Savannah Research Institute (SARI), with the hope that it would help supplement the usual local cereals grown there.

Asked if the people were used to cassava products and whether there would be ready market in the area, he and other colleague farmers said they might not need to sell the produce as it would be consumed within the community, processed into ‘konkonte’ flour and ‘gari’.

Representatives and chiefs from the communities who took part in the meeting, lauded ALP and its mother organisation, CARE International, for bringing many positive changes in their lives. According to them, farming had improved and they harvested more food than before, thereby increasing food security in the area.

Also with the savings scheme, the women had been financially empowered to assist in household responsibilities such as school fees and hospital bills and also help their husbands to expand their farms or buy fertilizer for use on their farms.

This, the Participants said had improved relationships within families and the men felt at ease to involve their wives in decision making concerning the household and the community as a whole.

The Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) is a five-year pilot programme working with the eight communities to create awareness about climate change, its effects and help the people find measures to adapt to the situation or cope with it.

Source: GNA

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