Regional News of Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Source: Public Agenda

Ghana's vulnerability to climate change

Two Lecturers from the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have thrown light on how Climate Change is gradually affecting the country and the picture it paints on the economy in the long term.

Dr Winston Asante, a scientist and senior lecturer at the KNUST states that temperatures throughout the country are typically high due to climate change and meteorological evidence reveals increases in temperature over the coming years.

Regarding crop production and food supply, he said more than 60% of Ghana's population is rural and directly depend on locally grown crops of food harvested from the immediate environment for consumption and for the urban population however the effects of climate change is gradually impeding food production and supply. Farmers who rely on rainfall to grow their crops are no longer able to predict the weather conditions.

Dr Asante added that activities of both formal and informal sectors of the economy in Ghana are highly dependent on natural resources such as agriculture, cattle rearing, logging, tourism and mining. Presently, small scale activities to reduce poverty such as salt production, tie and dye production block production, bee-keeping, mushroom cultivation are all dependent on climatic condition; hence, drastic changes in the weather condition due to Climate Change will badly affect these economic activities.

He disclosed also that climate Change is increasing the Disease Burden level in the country. “Insect-vector diseases such as malaria and trypanosomiasis are common in Ghana in addition to others water and climate related diseases such as typhoid and Cholera,”he added.

He was speaking during a media capacity building workshop on climate change challenge in Ghana in Kumasi recently. The workshop was organized by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC Fund).

Dr Delali B. Dovie, is also a Scientist and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon indicated that the adverse climate impacts on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will become stronger towards 2050.

He indicated that the projected decline in real GDP ranges from negative 5.4 % per annum to negative 2.1 % per annum by 2050. There is a decline in real household consumption levels, with rural households suffering greater reductions compared to urban households.

Dr Dovie also disclosed that the output of the agricultural sector is estimated to decline by between 6.4 % and 0.8 % by 2050. There will be a significant impact on the cocoa sub-sector, with output falling by 26-39 % relative to base for the Global Wet and Dry scenarios. All these are due to the effects of climate change.

To deal with this problem the scientist added that Ghana has adopted a Climate Change action policy however more efforts should be done to deal with the effects.

The policy among other things seeks to develop climate-resilient agriculture and food security systems; build climate-resilient infrastructure; increase resilience of vulnerable communities to climate-related risks.