West Gonja to benefit from agric programme

Yams_2West Gonja District in the Northern Region is to benefit from the climate change adaptation agriculture pilot programme, which aims to reduce vulnerability of food supply in the country.

Kintampo North, Wenchi, Techiman, Nkoranza South in the Brong Ahafo Region, Offinso North in the Ashanti Region and Nkwanta West in the Volta Region are the existing beneficiary districts of the project.

Mr Akwasi Adjei, National Coordinator of Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP), announced this in a speech read on his behalf at Damongo on Tuesday at a two-day workshop on RTIMP for district stakeholders.

The project dubbed: “Promoting a value chain approach to climate change adaptation in agriculture in Ghana (ProVACCA)”, was also aimed at reducing the vulnerability of the food supply system and rural livelihood to the harmful impact of climate change.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in collaboration with RTIMP organized the workshop with funding from the Global Environmental Facility’s Special Climate Change Fund.

Mr Adjei said the project was to place a strong focus on women and the youth since they were more vulnerable and were likely to face higher difficulties in coping with climate change impact.

He said 2,000 women, youth and men were to be trained on climate change related issues through community capacity building workshops.

Mr Jacob Lambon Komona, Acting Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Meteorological Agency, said the weather pattern in the Northern Region was inconsistent and farmers could no longer predict the exact periods to start planting.

He, however, added that since July was the highest rainfall month, crops could be planted between July and September in order to boost crop fertility.

Mr Komona stated that in the entire Northern Region it was only Tamale Metropolis that had a meteorological station, saying “It is the weather in Tamale that is most often forecasted for the entire Region”.

He emphasized that people mostly referred to the information that was given by the meteorological agency as false because meteorological officers often forecasted only Tamale Metropolis.

“This is unfortunate because if it is forecast as sunny in Tamale, it is reported to be sunny for the whole region but it may be raining somewhere in Damango and because the equipment is not in Damongo to measure, we cannot capture the report”, he explained.

He indicated that the Meteorological Agency was putting measures in place to get district stations for accurate weather forecast for the region.

Dr Stephen Kwaku Asante, Principal Research Scientist of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), said the degree of pests’ infestation on cassava plants was influenced by the weather.

He advised farmers to use the natural method of plucking pests from cassava plants rather than spraying since that would not kill the pests directly.

He indicated that the African Cassava Mosaic Virus (ACMV), which attacked cassava plants, was just like the HIV/AIDS disease because it did not have any cure.

He said the prevalence rate of the disease was very high in moist areas especially in the forest zones and that the disease was less in dry areas like the Northern region.

Dr Asante laid emphasis on the fact that West and East Gonja districts experienced the disease on their cassava plants because they had constant rains.

Source: GNA

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