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Opinions of Friday, 26 June 2015

Columnist: Aliu, Zuberu

Drought Hits Northern Region

Bimbilla is the capital town of the Nanumba North District. It links Volta region to the South, the Oti River to the East, Yendi to the North and Salaga to the West. Known for its potentials in agriculture, the residents of Bimbilla and its environs are threatened with food shortage due to the prolonged draught, which the area has experienced since the beginning of the year.
Bimbilla is not the only area that suffers the pain caused by the draught. The Nanumba South District, the Yendi Municipality and all the surrounding farming areas suffer the same faith. The situation is more devastating in and around Wulensi. Wulensi, which have semblance of forest vegetation and the first to harvest the first new crop, is gradually turning into a desert. Yams and other tubers planted earlier are becoming desiccated. Farmers who want to cash in during the first harvest are disappointed as they helplessly watch their crops wilted by the uncompromising drought. Not even the expertise of the Agric Officers will salvage the situation.
The destruction caused by the drought is not limited to crops only. The unwelcomed drought has a devastating impact on river bodies in the north. “Kul kpenni”, a river that supplies water to the Yendi Municipality is reportedly dry up. This development makes irrigation not a good option to farmers in the area.
The draught may be considered by some as ordinary phenomenon; but this poses a security threat to the area and Ghana as a country. It is said that “A hungry man is an angry man.” Farmers are running out of foodstuff and the price of food items is already galloping with no sign of rain anytime soon. Sadly, farmers have begun counting their losses as they have already ploughed back proceeds from last year’s harvest into this year farming activities.
May be this is the appropriate time to review promises made by political leaders. The major political parties promised to mechanize agriculture. Thankfully, the National Democratic Congress won the elections, yet the masses are still waiting for the government to mechanize agriculture in Ghana. Who knows if the politicians have not abandoned this noble project. May be the time has arrive for us to back rhetoric with action.
As policy makers and implementers work round to mitigate the impact of the draught, there is an urgent need to explore how to make food available to people in the north should the drought persists. There is no room to play the ‘wait and see’ attitude. This will be the surest way to limit the effects of the drought on the people.
Zuberu Aliu Student-UCC (zuberu2010@gmail.com)