Illegal encroachment hit Sakumono wetland site

Real Estate developers continue to encroach with impunity government acquired 1,364 hectares of wetland sites at Sakumono in the Greater Accra Region.

Environmental authorities say about 400 acres have been encroached and expressed worry that the development posed serious threat to livelihoods and sustainability of the wetland and its species.

Mr Richard Agorkpa, Executive Director of Friends of Ramsar Site (FORS) said on Saturday at a clean-up exercise, marking the celebration of the World Wetlands Day, that government action was required to arrest the situation.

Coalition of NGOs has warned that if no action was taken immediately to stop the encroachment, food security would be in danger and poverty deepened.

The site supports 230 sheep and goat farmers; 1,050 cattle and cars for 105 crop farmers producing vegetables that are mainly supplied to consumers in Kumasi, Accra and other cities.

According to Mr Agorkpa, last year, revenue accrued from the Ramsar Site amounted to GH?400,048 (about 4.48 billion old Ghana cedis).

On Saturday, the United States Embassy and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) office in Ghana expressed their willingness to support authorities protect and preserve the site for posterity.

Fernando Salinas, FAO’s Senior Forestry Officer for Africa said his organisation remained committed to make available the necessary technical expertise and help attract investments to make it possible.

He said the FAO has already held initial discussions with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority and provided tools and information that would help Ghana to develop sustainable wetlands for Agriculture.

Mr Salinas said the FAO would help Ghana to fully develop its wetland potential through collaboration to reduce importation of rice and slash import bills significantly.

Sam Healy, Regional Environment Science and Technology Officer of the US Embassy, said his country would continue to support government on biodiversity conservation.

He added that Ghana and US collaboration on preservation of safe and sound environment would continue to deepen relations between the two nations.

The world remembers the benefits of wetlands to humans and other living organisms on February 2, every year,

The Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

Over the years, governments and non-governmental organizations commemorate the day with varied activities aimed at raising public awareness on the importance of wetlands.

The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Wetlands and Agriculture.”