Ghana asked to invest in wild animal production  

Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, Chairperson, Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research (CBCR), University of Ghana, Legon, says it is imperative for the country to invest in game ranching.

“We should invest in wild animal production given the socio-economic benefits such a venture could bring to the people, especially women doing business in the bushmeat trade,” she emphasised.

Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the sidelines of a project inception meeting, at the UG, Legon, in Accra, said the population of most wildlife species was declining considerably due to overexploitation and habitat destruction.

The effect of this is that the plight of the majority of women doing business in the inter-generational bushmeat trade would be worsened – job and income losses, she cautioned.

The project titled: ‘Examining the Socio-Economic and Health Vulnerabilities of Female Bushmeat Traders in Ghana During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic’, is being spearheaded by the CBCR, with partners from the York University, represented by Prof. Joseph Mensah.

Other implementing partners include the Ministry of Health and draws on researchers from the UG’s Sociology Department and the Department of Geography and Resource Development.

The project is being sponsored by the International Development Research Center (IDRC), and the anticipated impacts include, an awareness raising among relevant policy-makers and stakeholders towards the mobilisation of resources to enhance the wellbeing of women in the bushmeat trade.

It is also meant to foster gender and health equity in Ghana.

“There are clear indications that COVID-19 has affected more women than men, and the situation is worse among women in the informal sector, where social protection is particularly lacking.” Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu, who serves as the Principal Investigator for the project, told the GNA.

On the specific objectives, the research scientist explained that the project sought to examine the interrelated factors that determined women’s livelihood challenges and opportunities in the context of the pandemic, drawing on the lived experience of women bushmeat traders.

“Presently, we know very little about the health hazards implicated in the trade, just as we have little knowledge on the exposure of women bushmeat traders to zoonotic diseases,” the Principal Investigator stated.

According to her, the methodology used by the team of researchers entailed both qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments, administered to various stakeholders in the bushmeat trade in Ghana, most of whom are women.

The specific objectives range from examining the strategies used by the women, not only to alleviate their socio-economic and health vulnerabilities during the pandemic, in particular, but also to sustain their resilience amid the COVID-19 (and beyond), and to promoting gender equality, in general.

The project seeks to identify the institutional, structural and cultural dynamics that foster, or otherwise undermine, the women’s efforts to make a living during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will draw lessons from the study to provide input into the country’s COVID-19 recovery programme and provide training and material interventions, notably, improving bushmeat processing and selling sites in the market – to advance the wellbeing of women in the bushmeat trade.

Meanwhile, some women in the trade, especially those doing business in the Ashanti, Central and Bono-East Regions, have recounted the cost incurred in the wake of the pandemic.

Sharing their experiences at the project inception meeting, the traders claimed the pandemic had dealt a big blow to their businesses – loss of income and livelihood and expressed anxiety over the prospects.

“What has worsened the situation is the loss of habitat for the wildlife due to desertification, illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) and urbanisation, which is depriving us of getting the meat required for our trade.” Madam Comfort Badu, Spokesperson for the Kumasi Atwemonom Women Bushmeat Traders Association, lamented.

Source: GNA

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