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Climate change: A looming threat to Ghana’s Agriculture and food security

Climate change: A looming threat to Ghana's Agriculture and food security

Climate change: A looming threat to Ghana’s Agriculture and food security

Ghana, like many other African countries, is heavily reliant on agriculture, which employs over 50% of the population and contributes significantly to the country’s GDP. However, climate change is posing a significant threat to the sector, putting the country’s food security at risk.

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns

As reported by the Ghana Meteorological Agency, Ghana has experienced a significant increase in temperatures over the past few decades, with an average rise of 1.5°C since 1960. This warming trend is projected to continue, with temperatures expected to rise by another 2-3°C by 2060.

According to National Disaster Management Organization, changing rainfall patterns are also a major concern. The country has experienced more frequent and intense droughts and floods, which have devastating effects on crops and livestock.

In an interview with Haruna Iddriss, a cabbage and lettuce farmer at the Korle Bu Farm yard, he lamented,
“The weather is becoming harsher. We can no longer predict the period of rain. This forces us to withhold seedlings sometimes till the rain comes. This ultimately affects the seedlings which are capable of maturing within a specific time frame”.

“We the poor farmers cannot also afford irrigation in this economy. Farmers are helpless because climate change is affecting us. The less we harvest, the less we sell”.

Impact on Agriculture

Climate change is having a significant impact on Ghana’s agriculture sector, with crop yields declining by up to 20% due to changing weather patterns according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Livestock deaths increasing due to heat stress and drought. Farmers struggling to adapt to new weather patterns, leading to reduced productivity.

Kwaku Ntow an okra farmer also expressed his worry, “I can use my situation as a case study because peasant farmers in rural areas are the ones most affected by the myriad of challenges brought on by climate change,” he said.

“I only planted six acres of okra this year. And in the abrupt change of events, the crops started to die after I had been caring for it for a while in the hopes of getting adequate harvests to repay my investment. It dawned on me that the lack of rain and constant solar heat was the reason the crops did not reach maturity. Because the okra farm did not produce the necessary results, I have lost a significant amount of money,” he added.

In an interview with Kingsley Kwasi Agyemang, a climate change and Natural Resource Management Specialist, he highlighted some adverse effects of climate change and the level of impact it has on agriculture and food supply.

“Climate change has led to erratic rainfall patterns, high temperature and heat waves, increasing temperatures, drought, flooding, Pests and Diseases which has impacted the agriculture sector negatively by causing a reduction in food production, increased food prices, increased risk of crop failure, Pest and disease infestation, stress on crops and livestock, reduced income from lower yields and high risk of food shortages in the country”, he said.

Food security at risk

The impact of climate change on agriculture has serious implications for food security in Ghana. With over 50% of the population reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods, food prices increasing due to reduced crop yields and livestock deaths as reported by the Ghana Statistical Service. Ghana Health Service through a publication revealed that, malnutrition is on the rise, particularly among vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women.

According to Mr. Kingsley Agyemang, the most vulnerable agricultural regions in Ghana are “Northern Region, Upper East and Upper West Region, Volta Region, whereas the various strategies being implemented to support farmers in these regions are; Developing and distributing drought-resistant crop varieties, training farmers on Soil conservation techniques, small scale irrigation projects such as one village one dam, promoting rainwater harvesting techniques, promoting agroforestry and conservation agriculture practices, flood control and management systems, erosion control measures, coastal protection measures, and Integrated pest management programs”, he mentioned.

Legal framework

Ghana has a legal framework in place to address climate change, including the Climate Change Act (2016) which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate resilience. The National Climate Change Policy (2014) which outlines strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. However, more needs to be done to address the specific challenges facing the agriculture sector and ensure food security for all Ghanaians.

Actions so far

Below are some policies and regulatory frameworks put in place to support climate-resilient agriculture and food security in Ghana, and the gaps that need to be addressed as provided by Mr Kingsley Akwesi Agyemang.

Policy/framework – objective – gaps

1. Ghana National Climate Change Policy (NCCP): Enhancing resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change impacts . 《GAPS》Weak enforcement of policies and regulations.

2. Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate resilience. 《GAPS》Insufficient funding for initiatives

3. Ghana Agricultural Investment Plan (GAIP): Increasing investment in agriculture to enhance productivity and resilience. 《GAPS》Fragmented policies and lack of coordination

4. National Irrigation Policy, Strategies and Regulatory Measures: Improving irrigation infrastructure and water management. 《GAPS》 Poor infrastructure for irrigation, storage, and transportation.

5. National Adaptation Plan (NAP)

Enhancingthe country’s resilience to climate change impacts by providing a strategic framework for adapting to those impacts. 《GAPS》 Limited data and information on current and projected climate change impacts at the local level.

6. National Climate Smart Agriculture and Food Security Action Plan (CSA-FS Action Plan): Facilitate and operationalize the NCCP for effective implementation and integration of climate change into food and agriculture sector development policies and programmes. 《GAPS》 Inadequate funding to support the implementation of the policy.

7. Ghana Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP): Guide investments in CSA practices and technologies to enhance resilience, increase productivity, and reduce GHG in the agric sector. 《GAPS》 Inadequate access to climate finance and the inability to align public and private sector investments with CSAIP priorities

The following are some international collaborations and funding opportunities available to support Ghana’s efforts to address climate change impacts on agriculture and food; Green Climate Fund (GFC), Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Bank Climate Investment Funds (CIF), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Recommendations

Experts advice that, there should be an increase investment in climate-resilient agriculture practices and technologies, there should be a deliberate support to farmers to adapt to changing weather patterns, implementation of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable agriculture practices, enhancement of food storage and preservation facilities to reduce post-harvest losses and the promotion of climate-smart agriculture and sustainable land management practices.

By taking these steps, Ghana can mitigate the impacts of climate change on its agriculture sector and ensure food security for generations to come.

Conclusion

Climate change poses a significant threat to Ghana’s agriculture sector and food security. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are having a devastating impact on crops and livestock, leading to reduced productivity and increased food prices. It is essential that the government and stakeholders take urgent action to address these challenges and ensure a food-secure future for all Ghanaians.

Source: Ransford Dorgbor
A Level 300 student.
University of Media Arts and Communications – Institute of Journalism
Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
ransforddorgbor58@gmail.com

Climate change: A looming threat to Ghana's Agriculture and food security

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