Regional News of Monday, 3 December 2012
A two-year project to improve food security and reduce income volatility for smallholder farmers in the breadbasket regions of Ghana has been launched in Accra.
The project, on the theme: “Enhancing the Adaptation of Smallholder Farmers, Especially Women to Climate Change for Improved Agricultural production in Ghana,” would be implemented in the four identified breadbasket regions namely Northern Region, Accra Plains, Accra Plains and Volta Region.
It is being implemented by Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, in collaboration with the University of Ghana, Environmental Protection Agency, Conservation Alliance, Development Initiative, Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Local Government and Rural Development as well as Care International, an NGO with financial support from Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) another NGO.
Launching the Inception of Environmental Node project in Accra, Dr Behind Machined, AGRA Country Officer said the agricultural sector is key to Ghana’s economic growth and development despite the food security challenges.
He noted that deliberations on strategies to mitigate the effect of climate change on smallholder farmers would boost efforts to transform subsistence farming into commercially viable market-driven agriculture.
It will also facilitate the country’s achievement of alleviating the poverty of millions of people in Northern Region and enhance food security and income of smallholder farmers.
He said AGRA is committed to increase productivity and income of African farmers in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
“It is heartening that this new initiative will complement...efforts of breeding of adapted high yielding varieties, integrated soil fertility management and other interventions by AGRA to strengthen strategies by farmers in Ghana.”
Dr Makinde called on stakeholders to put in place concrete arrangements to monitor the progress towards the implementation of the project and other programmes to be applied by the Environmental Policy Node.
He commended the project for focusing on women.
Dr George Owusu Essegbey , Director of STEPRI noted that as Ghana and Africa hope to industrialise, the first step is to ensure food security.
Dr Nelson Obirih-Opareh, Node Project Coordinator said the implementation of the project would take the form of surveys, meetings, workshops and reviews.
The objective of the project is to increase understanding among policy makers in Ghana on the impact of climate change as well small holder agricultural productivity in the bread basket regions, enhance understanding of best practices and strengthen capacity and contribution to the development and adoption of policies that would address the impact of climate change on smallholder farmers.
He explained that climate changes such as delayed, reduced and destructive rainfall as well as temperatures are affecting the forest and other natural resources in the country
Dr Obireh-Opareh said modern technologies have the potential to contribute to the country’s efforts to combat climate change and promote the adaptation of communities to the effects.
The project he said would provide information, increase awareness and build the capacity of government and non- governmental stakeholders to advocate a more coherent policy on the environment to address the impact of climate change.